Thursday, October 06, 2005

My Cup Runneth Over

So many articles on Republican fraud cases, so little blogging time! Representative John Conyers sent me this in an e-mail:

"First, we believe that the circumstances surrounding the November 2002 demotion of former Acting United States Attorney for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Frederick A. Black give rise to the appointment of a special counsel. The fact that he was demoted just one day after he obtained a subpoena into Jack Abramoff's lobbying activities in Guam, and was replaced by an individual recommended by the Guam Republican Party through Karl Rove, certainly raises cause for concern.

Second, we believe that the circumstances surrounding Jack Abramoff and his access to a classified, DOJ review of loopholes in Guam and Mariana Island immigration laws, are problematic. Mr. Black had ordered the review in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, but they were apparently jettisoned after Mr. Abramoff obtained a confidential copy of the review.

The appointment of a special counsel is clearly called for by the regulations - a criminal investigation is warranted; a conflict of interest exists; and it would be in the public interest have an independent, non-partisan review.

The Jack Abramoff mentioned in the e-mail is the very same Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff who was recently charged in a federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt may enter into it, too:

Much of the money — including one donation to Blunt from an Abramoff client accused of running a "sweatshop" garment factory in the Northern Mariana Islands — changed hands in the spring of 2000, a period of keen interest to federal prosecutors.

During that same time, Abramoff arranged for DeLay to use a concert skybox for donors and to take a golfing trip to Scotland and England that was partly underwritten by some of the lobbyist's clients. Prosecutors are investigating whether the source of some of the money was disguised, and whether some of DeLay's expenses were originally put on the lobbyist's credit card in violation of House rules.

Both DeLay and Blunt and their aides also met with Abramoff's lobbying team several times in 2000 and 2001 on the Marianas issues, according to law firm billing records obtained by AP under an open records request. DeLay was instrumental in blocking legislation opposed by some of Abramoff's clients.

Noble said investigators should examine whether the pattern of disguising the original source of money might have been an effort to hide the leaders' simultaneous financial and legislative dealings with Abramoff and his clients.

"You see Abramoff involved and see the meetings that were held and one gets the sense Abramoff is helping this along in order to get access and push his clients' interest," he said. "And at the same time, you see Delay and Blunt trying to hide the root of their funding.

"All of these transactions may have strings attached to them. ... I think you would want to look, if you aren't already looking, at the question of a quid pro quo," Noble said.

This is most likely not very clear. I'm inebriated from this cup of schandals, but you can read the linksh.