Sunday, January 29, 2006

Green's top aide admits to freebies from Abramoff

After squirming around like a fish in the boat for months, Mark Green's top aide congressional and campaign aide, Mark Graul, gets nailed for taking freebies from indicted D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

"Graul has given differing accounts, over the last three months, to distance himself from allegations that he took freebies."
But he has failed to distance himself from the allegations and instead run smack into them like a hammer to a nail.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, Katharine Skiba, goes where no one in the media has gone for months and actually does the job of a reporter by challenging Mark Graul's slippery lies to the media about the fact that he took what amounts to a violation of House ethics rules--an illegal gift from a lobbyist.

The Graul violation in question centers around his taking free tickets from Abramoff's firm to sit in his skybox for a Washington Wizards basketball game. Green has even acknowledged that Graul attended the game.

As Skiba notes, the House ethics rules are very clear on this. Evidently not clear enough to Graul or Green.

"Under House rules, a gift to lawmakers or their aides must be worth less than $50. The rules treat skybox seats at sporting events as equal in value to the event's top-priced individual seat - and in 2000, the top ticket to the Washington Wizards fetched $85."
As has been previously reported, for the game Graul and Green admit he attended as a gift from Abramoff, a request was made for 4 tickets to go to Graul. I know Republicans in D.C. have a hard time with math but $340 is more than $50. In order for Graul to have been within what was a legal "gift" from a lobbyist for the game he would have had to be sitting here by himself.

He wasn't sitting there in the nose bleed seats by himself, he sat in the Abramoff suite, a fact confirmed by another Green staffer in the MJS story.

But it doesn't end there. In e-mails that Graul previously chalked up to an "internet hoax," the product of a "liberal blogger with an ax to grind" and the suggestion that "stuff could be fabricated," it's three strikes and your out for Graul's lies to the media.

He now admits the e-mails are "legitimate." But that means more problems for Green's top aide.

These "legitimate" e-mails also detail how Graul requested tickets for Abramoff's luxury suite.

As Skiba reports, "Under civil laws, federal employees may not solicit anything of value from people doing business with their employer."
Of course the wingnuts say this is not a story--Green's top aide, Graul, breaking House ethics rules and taking freebies from the most infamous indicted lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, AND based on e-mails from Abramoff's lobby shop that Graul himself calls "legitimate," Graul has also requested freebies in violation of civil laws.


Perhaps most damaging is the fact that Green's top campaign aide now has absolutely no credibility with the media, zero, none, nada. Graul has given the media no reason to believe anything he says to them from here until the September GOP primary, or sooner if Green does the right thing and gets rid of Graul. Green surely can't be pleased with Graul's mis-handling of the Delay contributions, so what does Graul have to show for his work on the campaign thus far.

Don't worry Mark (Graul), there might be a career yet for you in D.C. lobbying. You certainly have the experience and connections.


At 4:21 PM, Blogger XOut said...

If we go after Graul, can we go after Doyle too? After all, Doyle received $1,000 from a business partner of Abramoff, Alan Slomowitz. That’s a lot worse than the $85 that seems to trouble you so much with Graul. Actually – you said $340 for four tickets, but I really don’t see how one person can have their ass in four different seats at the same time so ascribing the entire value to him is a bit silly.

Even more interesting is that once again, we have a Doyle campaign contribution from someone who was contracted by the state. Doyle’s administration hired Mr. Abramoff’s firm to represent the state of Wisconsin to lobby the feds against closing our military bases. Mr Slomowitz and the firm were paid $20,000 per month for their work and Doyle got a $1,000 check.

It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

I still want to know what Rep. Nelson did to get $200 from an Abramoff associate.

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Harris Kane said...

XOUT--What if someone told you Green took money from an associate of Abramoff?

At 8:20 PM, Blogger XOut said...

I believe that is old news. That was kinda the point Harris.

Now, if you can find some evidence of criminal conduct... that would be something.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger grumps said...

Wait for it.

At 4:42 PM, Blogger rxr792 said...

still waiting for evidence of criminal conduct.


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