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Tilting at Windmills

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January 19, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

JACK ABRAMOFF'S CLIENTS....Indian tribes that hired Jack Abramoff gave money to both Democrats and Republicans. That much is indisputable. But was this money "directed" by Abramoff or was it money that the tribes would have given anyway? Brad DeLong notes that one way to tell is to compare the pattern of pre-Abramoff contributions to post-Abramoff contributions:

For example, the Saginaw Chippewa gave $279,000 to Democrats over 1997-2000, and $277,000 over 2001-2004, after they had gotten into bed with Abramoff. It is a safe bet that *none* of those contributions to Democrats were "directed" by Abramoff. The Saginaw Chippewa gave $158,000 to Republicans in 1997-2000, and $500,000 to Republicans in 2001-2004, after they had gotten into bed with Abramoff. It is a safe bet that $340,000 of those contributions to Republicans were "directed" by Abramoff.

Brad then links to a Bloomberg story that provides further evidence of how Abramoff directed his clients' money:

Of the top 10 political donors among Indian tribes in that period, three are former clients of Abramoff and Scanlon: the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of California. All three gave most of their donations to Republicans by margins of 30 percentage points or more while the rest favored Democrats.

So: Indian tribes usually give most of their money to Democrats, while Abramoff clients and only Abramoff clients give most of their money to Republicans. Coincidence? I think not.

Surely some enterprising reporter could do this kind of simple analysis for all of Abramoff's tribal clients? We already know that Abramoff's personal contributions went 100% to Republicans, and I'll bet that comparing (a) pre-Abramoff to post-Abramoff contributions and (b) Abramoff clients to non-Abramoff clients would show that the money he "directed" also went almost exclusively to Republicans. We could then finally put an end to the whole "bipartisan scandal" charade.

Perhaps Jeff Gerth can atone for his sins by cranking out five or ten thousand words on the subject?

Kevin Drum 8:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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Comments

Where's ace journalist Jeff Gannon I'm sure he could crack this case.

Posted by: neo on January 19, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: Surely some enterprising reporter could do this kind of simple analysis for all of Abramoff's tribal clients?

Surely, an enterprising reporter could do that analysis. But if the reporter worked for any "mainstream" corporate media organization, it would not be published and the reporter would be fired.

The mass media and the Republican Party are both tools of America's ruling class -- the ultra-rich, hereditary, neo-fascist, corporate-feudalist elite -- which they use to maintain and increase their power.

The job of so-called "reporters" is, in Zachary Roth's phrase from the previous article on this subject on your blog, to "repeat GOP charges wholesale", not to engage in actual reporting let alone investigative journalism that could make trouble for the GOP, because the so-called "reporters" are owned by the same corporations that own the GOP, and that own the likes of Jack Abramoff for that matter.

And that soon will own everything.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 19, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

So, who won, the cowboys or the Indians?

Hey, I just thought of something. Indiana was named after India, and had no Indians!

Posted by: Matt on January 19, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Deborah Howell can put aside not responding to readers' queries long enough to learn how to do an analysis of this sort.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on January 19, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

So, Kevin, you're saying the Indian tribes are innocent bystanders?

Then you shouldn't have a problem if they're collateral victims as the targeted bad guy Abramoff is taken down, right?

Posted by: The Confidence Man on January 19, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Good for DeLong in going after this data analysis. Just a little rigor should uncover all that needs to be uncovered about native american tribes, their historical donations, and the Abramoff effect.

Then we can really talk about this Republican corruption scandal, and how they have shamed and gamed us.

Posted by: Jimm on January 19, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

What Republicans can't get around is that the Abramoff scandal involves organized crime. It was performed under the rubric, and for the purpose of Congressional Republicans. It represents the signature Republican party discipline, applied to corruption itself. It's nearly inconceivable by this very fact that a Democrat would be caught up in it.

The Democrats years back may have had rogue Congresspeople who were corrupt, but they were one-offs, in almost all cases. Democrats, had they even the inclination, could not have achieved the discipline of the Republicans in the exercise of sleaze.

The Republicans, in the face of the perfect exclusivity of their corruption, have no spin to turn to.

And there's nothing more pathetic in all the earth than a Republican caught without his spin, naked in the world of truth.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 19, 2006 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

In other words you want to exclude the 200K conts to the Dems 'cos Abramoff is not involved to make a prettier statistic?

You are just asking for someone to cite a few Dem lobbyists doing the same thing.

As far as I can tell from 1997-2004, the Dems only took 100K less than the Repugs.

Posted by: McA on January 19, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the question of whether a contribution directly from Abramoff is the same as a contribution from one of the tribes he represented, hasn't the White House answered that question by returning the former but not the latter?

Posted by: Bob on January 19, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

It is a safe bet that *none* of those contributions to Democrats were "directed" by Abramoff.

Wow, this is a particularly dumb thing to say.

What makes DeLong and Drum assume that the tribe would have given the same amount to Democrats in 2001-2004 as they did in the prior 4 years, absent Abramoff's influence?

This is a huge - and COMPLETELY UNSUPPORTED - assumption.

Posted by: Al on January 19, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

the media is set on course: Bi-Partisan Scandal. it takes a lot of energy to turn a boat that size, and i'm not sure anyone has that kind of energy. maybe a couple of weeks ago, before it got up to speed...

but not now. that ship has sailed.

Posted by: cleek on January 19, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Surely some enterprising reporter could do this kind of simple analysis for all of Abramoff's tribal clients?

No, they couldn't. If they were paid to do analysis, they would be "analysts", and not by media corporations ("analysts" employed by the media are paid to spout half-considered, off-the-cuff, emotional reactions, for the most part, not to actually analyze anything.) Reporters are paid to report what people have told them, and to avoid analysis or any other form of independent thought at all costs. Don't you understand how the media works?

Posted by: cmdicely on January 19, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Amen brother!

Posted by: Jim on January 19, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I would like to know how Brad DeLong got those numbers. Because I plugged "Saginaw Chippewa" into Opensecrets.org, and I got nothing like those numbers.

I'm not calling DeLong a liar, but... oh, hell, yes I am.

Posted by: Al on January 19, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Good-Kevin, I'd like to be the first one to welcome you back!

I wonder if you know that Bizzaro-Kevin has been posting in Political Animal posing as you: a few days ago, Bizzaro-Kevin called the initial announcement that a CIA air strike on a building in a Pakistani village may have killed Zawahiri, "a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary news week" -- I'm certain that you, Good-Kevin, would never approve long-range bombings of residential areas (we bombed a "village," after all) that are guaranteed to kill innocents, even if the innocents are not civilized Californians but primitive ragheads, all the over there in Moslem-land.

Then Bizzaro-Kevin struck again, trying to make certain his conservative admirers, liberal hawks, etc. knew how moderate and masculine and mainstream and objective he is, stating that the attack was justified, even if it didn't kill Zawahiri but the No. 3 or 4 or whatever al Qaeda scumbag (for only the twelfth time) and a bunch of kids and women too. I knew it was Bizzaro-Kevin because he said that it was "pretty plainly" a justified killing of innocent little ragheads, without presenting any other argument whatsoever, moral or pragmatic (how could he? No moral or clever person would argue that we're "pretty plainly" justified to kill innocents in pursuing our holy war, just like we're terrorists or something).

So, welcome back, Good-Kevin! Please make sure you change you password before Bizzaro-Kevin (or that Debra Dickerson person) take over Political Animal again.

Posted by: Aris on January 19, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

"This is a huge - and COMPLETELY UNSUPPORTED - assumption."

Uh, no. This is a simple - and COMPLETELY REASONABLE - assumption.

Posted by: Joel on January 19, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, no. This is a simple - and COMPLETELY REASONABLE - assumption.

And unsupported.

Posted by: Al on January 19, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

"And unsupported."

Except by parsimony. Elementary logic.

Try it sometime.

Posted by: Joel on January 19, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, thank you for presenting this question so clearly. Perhaps even Howard Kurtz, Deborah Howell and Sue Schmidt of the Washington Post will be able to absorb this after the way you have presented it.

Posted by: Ben Brackley on January 19, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

So, I plugged in "Choctaw" to the "soft money" search at opensecrets.org.

Gues what I found?

The Mississippi band of Choctaw gave the following amounts:

1998 and 2000 election cycles (i.e., years 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000) - before Abramoff:
$112,000 to Republicans
$0 to Democrats

2002 election cycle (nothing shows up for 2004 cycle):
$120,000 to Republicans
$95,000 to Democrats

That means, using DeLong's logic and assumptions, that Abramoff "directed" $8,000 to Republicans and $95,000 to Democrats!

As far as the Mississippi Band of Choctaws are concerned, Abramoff is almost entirely a DEMOCRAT scandal!!!

Posted by: Al on January 19, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Surely some enterprising reporter could do this kind of simple analysis for all of Abramoff's tribal clients?

You place a heavy burden on our corporate owned media, Kevin.

Posted by: bobbyp on January 19, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Al:>"As far as the Mississippi Band of Choctaws are concerned, Abramoff is almost entirely a DEMOCRAT scandal!!!"


I'll think I will wait until I hear it from the Choctaws directly.


Not that I don't trust Al ....... much... at all..

Posted by: Eric Senger on January 19, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

"As far as the Mississippi Band of Choctaws are concerned, Abramoff is almost entirely a DEMOCRAT scandal!!!"

Wow, Al. That sums it up, doesn't it? The whole Abramoff scandal is all about the Mississippi Band of Choctaws. Nothing else matters. You've solved it! Good work!

Can you go away now and play somewhere else?

Posted by: Joel on January 19, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, this is a particularly dumb thing to say.

I'll lay you 10 to 1 the assertion is correct, Al. Put up or shut up.

Posted by: bobbyp on January 19, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't a better Democratic response be to say:

"Senator Dorgan *never* got money grom Abramoff, he did get money from Abramoff's victims"

Posted by: Eric Senger on January 19, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060119/wl_nm/nuclear_arms_france_dc_2

Can I ask your opinion on this...Chirac sound's like he would have responded to 9/11 with a nuke instead of invasions - which is more humane?

Posted by: McA on January 19, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Can I ask your opinion on this...Chirac sound's like he would have responded to 9/11 with a nuke instead of invasions - which is more humane?"

For Afghanistan, invasion worked.

For Iraq, none of the above, since Iraq attacked no one.

Posted by: Joel on January 19, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, no, McA, you can't ask our opinion. Shut the fuck up.

Posted by: Pat on January 19, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Al's cherry-picked statistics are as valid as the other cherry-picked statistics.

Of course, the Republicans winning the White House at the end of 2000 might also have influenced the direction of the money.

Look, if you have to go to this much work to make your point, kind of like the amount of work Brad goes to to prove the economy sucks, it's not going to be much of an election issue. Remember, almost half of those surveyed recently don't even know who Abramoff is.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 19, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

almost half of those surveyed recently don't even know who Abramoff is.

As long as the swing voters know who Abramoff is, that's what's important. Keep shilling for that crime syndicate known as the republican party, tbrosz. It makes us thing oh-so-much of you.

Posted by: Constantine on January 19, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: almost half of those surveyed recently don't even know who Abramoff is

No, the glass is half full. Try to be a little optimistic.

Posted by: alex on January 19, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

There is no need to prove by using double precision arithmetic that Republicans are corrupt.

It's clear that they are, and just proclaim this. Let the Repubs do the computations to prove that they are not.

Posted by: lib on January 19, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Look, if you have to go to this much work to make your point....

posted by tbrosz above

As opposed to the free lunch NRO crowd who trot out their absurd economic observations guided soley by their ideology, and nary one iota of what is commonly termed "work".

Why do you hate work, tbrosz?

Posted by: bobbyp on January 19, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Look, if you have to go to this much work to make your point, kind of like the amount of work Brad goes to to prove the economy sucks, it's not going to be much of an election issue

Politics aside, is it an ethical or criminal issue?

I'm curious.

Funny how the troll discourse here usually devolves into discussing the political ramifications of an issue only. Wasn't it as recent as the Clinton administration when these same issues were grave moral and legal concerns, to be furiously debated at length with frequent shouts of "ditto!" and "illegal!" and "baby-killers!"

Or did I dreeeeeam it?

Posted by: trex on January 19, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Surely some enterprising reporter could do this kind of simple analysis for all of Abramoff's tribal clients?

Try asking the Bloomberg article's authors, who have obviously done some of that work... Kristin Jensen (kjensen@Bloomberg.net) and Jonathan D. Salant (jsalant@bloomberg.net).

Posted by: has407 on January 19, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Where's ace journalist Jeff Gannon I'm sure he could crack this case.

thought his job was casing the crack.

Posted by: Randy Bottoms on January 19, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Does that make him a better person than Bush who wants to free 40 million people and is prepared to shed blood to do it?

I haven't read the Chirac quote, but if he said it he was probably just talking out of his hat. Although, the French are pretty tough: they have the stiffest anti-terror laws in Europe and take harsh measures to integrate immigrants into their society.

So maybe Chirac would rain down the fire.

If so, that would obviously be worse than an invasion. However, your assertion about freeing 40 million people is not only unsupported it's pretty much refuted by the backstory we have available to us on the Cabinet debate about how to respond to 9/11. Rumsfeld wanted to strike Iraq, Doug Feith wanted to hit random targets in South America with his Wand of Magic Missiles but didn't make his roll, and finally they realized they should probably hit the country where al-Qaeda was actually located.

I seem to remember Bush offering a deal not to invade if the Taliban would hand over bin Laden and al-Qaeda. How does the plan to free the Afghanis fit into that scenario?

Posted by: trex on January 19, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Aris makes a good, but incomplete observation about the "good Kevin" and the "Bizarro Kevin"
who thinks Pakistanis are necessary collateral damage.

Why do we all ignore why the "kevin's" in political blogs must depricate and minimalize the lives of Muslims.

Why not name his "conservative admirers and liberal hawks" - by ethnicity?

Until and unless we address the islamophobic [and ethnocentric] faction that spreads money and influence across both political parties, no honest discussion is possible.

What nobody wants to talk about in either party is the disproportionate influence of drooling Islamophobes who frame every discussion on the Middle East.

THAT is who Kevin is trying to please, by diminishing the value of Muslims lives. Just think what it'll do for his career!!


Posted by: annie on January 19, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

umm, Democrats had the majority in 1997-2000 - one needs to correct for that.


DeLong is far too partisan to be allowed to deal with numbers and stuff.

Posted by: am on January 19, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Good point annie. Where is the discussion of Abramoff funding terrorists? He funded a school for snipers in the west Bank of Palestine.

Why isn't he being tried for funding terror.

Same constituency blocks that discussion. Neither party wants to own up to just who develops party policy.

Posted by: Matt on January 19, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

umm, Democrats had the majority in 1997-2000 - one needs to correct for that.

Posted by: am on January 19, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

I guess you could assess corruption on a per vote basis..but when you get to that point its time to just ban lobbying.

Posted by: McA on January 19, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Deborah Howell's recent response to her angry readers seems to address this. She links to a graphic that supposedly shows that Abramoff specifically directed his clients to donate to members of both parties.

Howell's response is here. The graphic is here.

An excerpt from her response:

I've heard from lots of angry readers about the remark in my column Sunday that lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to both parties. A better way to have said it would be that Abramoff "directed" contributions to both parties.

...

Records from the Federal Elections Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff’s Indian clients contributed between 1999 and 2004 to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats. The Post has copies of lists sent to tribes by Abramoff with specific directions on what members of Congress were to receive specific amounts.

Of course, this doesn't mean Howell is off the hook. She clearly and incorrectly stated in her earlier column that "he [Abramoff] had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties." And given this false statement, it was reasonable to assume that Abramoff had not directed any contributions to Democrats. But perhaps he did.

I'll leave it to others to track down the facts behind this.

Posted by: Keith Thompson on January 19, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

no no look over here it's a terrorist. If bin laden was a clog in your drain and George Bush was a plumber how many years of failure and wasted money would you allow george before you fired him??

Posted by: neo on January 19, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

George Bush was a plumber

Standing there in his overalls, in your kitchen, which is destroyed, water and muck everywhere, leak not fixed, writing a bill for $200 billion, saying "Mission Accomplished!"

Posted by: craigie on January 19, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

saying "Mission Accomplished!"

Posted by: craigie on January 19, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

When the other plumber was planning to do nothing until I got really pissed off then use Nukes.... he's actually the lesser of 2 evils.

Posted by: McA on January 19, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Mc a-fool
"ban lobbying"
hahaha
The dems have tried that several times, it's funny to hear YOU pull out that old chestnut. Last I heard the SC shot that down with the idiotic assertion that political donations were a form of free speech and helped America's slide into a new aristocracy.

"lessor of two evils"
Somehow, I seriously doubt that Gore would have nuked Afganistan or would have cut funding for ongoing anti-terrorist investigations begun during the Clinton administration by the FBI (Bush approved cuts which contributed to the situation that allowed 9/11 to happen in the first place).

Lier.

Posted by: joe on January 20, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

There is more direct evidence on Jack Abramoff's donation direction. The Justice Department has e-mails to clients etc. I hate to note this be Deborah Howell provides a useful link http://tinyurl.com/8rl4f in her reply to her thousand critics http://tinyurl.com/ctf7c.

The first link shows a piece of a memo with hand written modifications. It shows that the large directed donations all went to Republicans, but that some donations were directed to Democrats (Carnahan, Cleland and Daschle's PAC).

The e-mails etc provide useful information on how hard Abramoff pushed his clients towards Republicans. Of course, the sample of publicly available documents will be biased due to partisan leaks and Abramoff had to camoflage his true intentions in communications to his victims. Still useful information.

Daschle's name appears to be crossed out. RAW FEC data is a pain to read, but, as far as I can tell here http://tinyurl.com/c3jy8, and in particular here http://tinyurl.com/bt9ag, DASHPAC did not receive a donation from the Coushetta's.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on January 20, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

We all know Abramoff is a Republican money manager, and his criminal activities a Republican scandal and conspiracy. Pointing out normal and deviant tribal contributions is just supposed to help so-called conscientious journalists to figure it out, and a way to present it.

tbrosz: almost half of those surveyed recently don't even know who Abramoff is

Only a little more than 1/2 the country votes too.

Posted by: Jimm on January 20, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: almost half of those surveyed recently don't even know who Abramoff is

The GOP should be concerned this many people know who he is. How many of these 50% do you want to bet are in the 50% who reliably vote in congressional elections, especially between presidential electionss?

Posted by: Jimm on January 20, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Excellent stuff. If only the Dem representatives on CNN would do their goddamned homework this well they'd be able to shut down the bipartisan scandal lie.

Posted by: secularhuman on January 20, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Also, I would like to know how Brad DeLong got those numbers.

From the Bloomberg News story he linked to, you lying, fatuous ass.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=arVHles5cKJc&refer=us#

Posted by: Calton Bolick on January 20, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Yesterdays USA Today made an excellent point in it's lead editorial. At the very top were two pictures side by side. One showed Denny Hastert and David Dreir and it listed contributions and trips they received. In the other we saw Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and a list of contributions and gifts they received. I'd argue Harry and Nancy are far more recognizable.

The USA has the largest circulation of all newspapers just above the WSJ and combined are over 4.5x's the NYT's distribution. The obvious conclusion is that there's too much money in Washington and both sides are equally guilty. The fact is this story has been around for a bit, most opinions have formed and it's not going to be an election moving scandal.

Harry Reid can't win He's a central figure. If he returns his contributions he's pled guilty. If he doesn't he's saying there's nothing wrong. The fact is Harry will remain a big part of the story and prevents any claims of democratic virginity.

Posted by: rdw on January 20, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP should be concerned this many people know who he is.

What they know is he ripped off lot of Indian tribes in trying to buy influence with people like Harry Reid. This is a scandal that will definitely drive down faith in Government and may have a marginal effect on the GOP. There's no free lunch for Dems.

Posted by: rdw on January 20, 2006 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK
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Posted by: 免费电影 on January 20, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Enough is enough.

There is no Democratic equivalent to K Street. None. None at all.

Furthermore, enough of this "it's OK because everyone does it" crap. That excuse doesn't work when you get pulled over for speeding, and it shouldn't work when you betray the American people for a quick buck.

Secondly, everyone does NOT do this. The former head of the College Democrats is NOT under indictment for bribery. There is no Democratic K Street Project.

Everyone does NOT do this.

Posted by: theorajones on January 20, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

McAnustotle: Does that make him a better person than Bush who wants to free 40 million people and is prepared to shed blood to do it?

You presume a fact not in evidence, that Bush wanted and wants to free 40 million people that he and his ilk made captive to a tyrant in the first place.

And Bush has always been prepared to shed any blood but his own, both literally and figuratively, both physically and politically.

Quit McKissing Bush's McAss, McAnus.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 20, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

1. Jack Abramoff is a gangster
(see visual evidence: http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:ebUBTBhdqoHLNM:smh.com.au/ffximage/2006/01/05/abramoff6106_narrowweb__300x413,0.jpg)
2. Jack Abramoff is a Republican. He gave 100% of his personal campaign contributions (and directed those of his wife) to people like George Bush.
3. Therefore, Jack Abramoff is a GOP gangster.
4. You can argue that he is really a Democratic gangster, of course, just as you can say that the Navy Department decorated John Kerry for valor five times by mistake. You can search Google and discover that Stanford beat Cal and that USC beat Texas. After all, yhere are two sides to everything.

Posted by: steve High on January 20, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

What they know is he ripped off lot of Indian tribes in trying to buy influence with people like Harry Reid. This is a scandal that will definitely drive down faith in Government and may have a marginal effect on the GOP. There's no free lunch for Dems.

What slimey crap.

You GOP scum smell like corruption. This is just bribery, and the wholesale theft of the government by the REPUKELINAZI scum.

Boehner and all of those traitors should be taken out and shot.

They all took money from Russian mob figures.

Posted by: POed Liberal on January 20, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

McAnustotle: Does that make him a better person than Bush who wants to free 40 million people and is prepared to shed blood to do it?

I love how these REPUKELINAZISCUM are perfectly happy to let other people get head wounds and their legs amputated while these scum sucking REPUKELINAZIS sit here in their office and discuss how good it is.

You physical cowardly REPUKELISCUM are just totally worthless.

Posted by: POed Liberal on January 20, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

The whole "but Dems controlled the government before 2001" strikes me as a classic throw-smoke-in-their-eyes distraction. The point is not that decisions on where to best direct campaign contributions might have changed. The point is that, throughout the press, people are asserting that Dems are semi-equally culpable in this scandal because they received money from Indian tribes represented (and ultimately screwed) by Democrats -- with the often stated rationale that Abramoff "directed" these donations. If, in fact, these Democrats had been receiving money from the tribes prior to Abramoff's involvement -- and, in fact, began receiving LESS after Bad Jack stepped in -- the whole assertion falls apart. (Not that our lions of the press will ever want to admit that)

Why waste time with rdw, folks? He's just a self-parodying "I can spin anything including murder as pro-GOP" troll. Talk about Bizarro.

Posted by: demtom on January 20, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, that should read "represented (and ultimately screwed) by ABRAMOFF".

Sure wish you had an edit function, Kevin.

Posted by: demtom on January 20, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

We've called Abramoff everything but a necrophiliac on this thread.

But the most self evident discription eludes the membership.... why is that?

Abramoff was funding a West Bank Terrorist organization - A SNIPER SCHOOL for Israeli settlers.

This is a NON ISSUE?

Until and unless we confront the enemy within our government - the treasonous cabal that fans the fires and conducts stings and false flags on our people to enlist us in a perpetual war on Islam...

well - we are hostages - all of us

to a foreign government whose very life depends on the American military machine to kill its enemies.

The demographics of Israel dictate that if they don't expel or kill Palesinians - there will be more Muslims than Jews in Palestine in half a century.

That's why we are at war with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the PLO - Hamas --

This is a genocidal war. And Abramoff was the money man for treasonous neocons who now control our government.

Until and unless we speak openly of just exactly what interests are being served by these wars... we are hostages, and our children are cannon fodder.

Posted by: wenn on January 20, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

DeLong has done us all a favor, and by all means someone should continue the analysis. But in fact all the legal, reported contributions to campaigns and party organizations are the tip of the iceberg with Abramoff. They're dwarfed by the amound of money Abramoff and DeLay circulated through the giant GOP slush fund network.

Just one example, from Josh Marshall:

The Post's graphic charts political giving from Abramoff, his associates and clients from 1999 through 2004. The total sum was roughly $5.3 million. During little more than half that period of time (1999-2002) Abramoff funnelled some $4.2 million to just one guy -- his old buddy Ralph Reed.

Deborah Howell and many of her colleagues at the Post want to keep the focus on the contributions, because the much bigger part of the story makes it clear that the machine in which Abramoff was a big cog 100% Republican.

Posted by: Nell on January 20, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

You could even make the case that, where Abramoff's influence was to lessen the Democrats' "take," that he "donated" NEGATIVE dollars to Democrats. That makes Democrats even that much purer!

Taint-free! 'Tain't us! We ain't takin' that filthy money! No-siree-Bob!


Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on January 20, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK
Abramoff was funding a West Bank Terrorist organization - A SNIPER SCHOOL for Israeli settlers.

This is a NON ISSUE?

Yes, politically, supporting terrorism by Israelis is a non-issue in this country. Heck, even the thorough penetration of the national security apparatus of the country by Israeli agents is virtually a non-issue, politically.

Perhaps it shouldn't be, but it is.

The Israel lobby has successfully equated questioing any action of Israel's government or individual Israelis (at least, of the Jewish variety, its still okay to criticize Arab citizens of Israel) with anti-Semitism, which is about as reasonable as if all criticism of, say, Zimbabwe's government or individual black members of citizenry was equated with anti-black racism.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 20, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the 'Alexandria Town Talk' ran the original story which helped ignite this firestorm.

How did this happen?

That's Alexandria, LA not VA, and one the most rabidly conservative towns anywhere bar none. It's the kind of place where locals displayed placards reading 'Ollie North for President'.

The place practically glows a throbbing bright red. I know this, I had the misfortune of living there for 8+ years due to my ex's job.

I'll never forget the first time I needed a haircut and was toally dumbfounded when the stylist asked me, in all seriousness, whether I had my husband's permission to cut my hair so short. My husband's permission? Like I should bring a note or something to get a haircut? That was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

By the time I moved I had a braid halfway down my back. Who needs that kind of aggravation?

Largest private employer? Wal-Mart.

Posted by: CFShep on January 21, 2006 at 7:46 AM | PERMALINK

AL,

RE: 1998 and 2000 election cycles (i.e., years 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000) - before Abramoff:

one little problem... Abramoff signed up the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians as a client in 1995

oh, well back to the drawing board

Posted by: ding7777 on January 21, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

You're all making a major framing error. You've allowed yourselves to let the GOP define the debate.

This is not about who Jack Abramoff suggested his clients make political contributions to (if in fact he did suggest contributions to Democrats, from his bilked clients). Any lobbyist worth their salt would suggest a few political contributions, so their clients would at least have their phone calls answered. It sucks, but it's legal.

This scandal is about using bogus charities and other nonprofits for illegal money laundering; it's about violations of gift bans by Republicans getting free meals for friends and family at an upscale restaurant, about free Superbowl vacations for house and senate staffers, and golf outtings at Saint Andrews; it's about quid pro quo bribery.

Posted by: Dick Tuck on January 22, 2006 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

Abramoff couldn't corrupt the Dems before 2000 because the Chinese had already bought them. How much did the Dems raise selling the Lincoln Bedroom $5.2 million? Bush should have retained that 3 time Federally convicted Peter Paul to raise money and not a connected k Street lawyer. The 'culture of corruption' can be found in every Congress.

Posted by: Sinop85 on January 23, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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