Wednesday, January 11, 2006

With new standard, there is

'Abramoff' money everywhere

Gov. Jim Doyle's campaign has returned a $1000 contribution from a lobbyist who used to be in the same firm as lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

Sen. Russ Feingold did the same, returning contributions from former members of Abramoff's law firm and the law firm's political action committee.

None of those contributors have been accused of any wrongdoing. They simply happened to work, at one time, in the same company as Amramoff, whose name is poison in political circles since his conviction on corruption charges.

The law firm in question, Greenberg Traurig, has 1,500 lawyers in 25 offices. Like many law firms, it makes sure that its partners and lawyers contribute on both sides of the political aisle.

Let's use an example closer to home. If a lobbyist who worked for Foley and Lardner, another huge firm, was caught up in an indictment, the contributions of every lawyer who works for Foley across the country would be tainted.

Greenberg Traurig was not some small shop where Abramoff called all the shots and every contribution was associated or connected to his work and to what he did. In fact, the firm's lawyers were big givers to Dems (including moveon, ACT, and Kerry). Abramoff's presense along with the former Hill staffers who he took with them to the firm -- including a couple from Tom DeLay's staff -- was meant to have a bipartisan lobbying component at the firm. The problem is it was that Abramoff's half of their lobbying was corrupt. When reports first surfaced, the firm fired him in early 2004.

So we have established the standard. Any money from Abramoff's associates must be returned.

Fine. Let's return to my post from last Sunday:

In a desperate attempt to make the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal bipartisan, the National Republican Senatorial Committee posted a list of Democratic Senators who have ever received any contribution that could be linked to Abramoff, even after six degrees of separation. It included contributions from Abramoff associates and clients, in some cases when he wasn't even working for them...

Two Republican Congressmen from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan and F. James Sensenbrenner, have each taken four times and eight times as much, respectively, as Feingold got from the same Abramoff law firm PAC. Federal Election Commission records show Ryan got $2,000 and Sensenbrenner $4,000 from the same law firm political action committee that gave Feingold $500.

There's been no media coverage, not a peep from either of them about returning the money, or any call from the RIB (right wing blogosphere) to do so. (And I am not talking about the $949 Ryan gave to charity -- which by the way was from Abramoff himself. Not one penny of contributions from Abramoff or his wife went to a single Democrat. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Here's the list.
Now that that the GOP has defined what a "link" is to the Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney and Tom DeLay scandals, this should be fun for Democrats as they uncover those links.

So there will be plenty more contributions to be unearthed. Here are two more to F. Jim Sensenbrenner from lawyers at the firm, from FEC reports:

12/19/2001 250.00 22990341031


05/17/2005 1000.00 25970664827
So, let's all give it back.

Sensenbrenner and Ryan have not returned any of the money, except for the direct donation to Ryan from Abramoff himself.

Then there's the $30,000 Mark Green got from Tom DeLay's committee, and $25,000 Ryan got from DeLay. Green says it's all spent except $2,000, which he'll give back only if DeLay is convicted. Ryan says -- who knows? Both Green and Ryan have changed their positions on the DeLay money multiple times. The only thing that's been consistent is that they have kept the tainted money. Bad judgment.

Green gets religion, won't spend DeLay money.


At 8:25 PM, Blogger working stiff said...

No doubt Abromoff is a criminal. But lets look at the root of the problem. Where would a guy like this get this much MONEY to spread around to both parties. Indian Casinos. Boy I hope nobody got any large donations, for their national commitee which then returned the same amount to their campaign, from Indian casinos while negotiating UNCONSTITUTIONAL gaming compacts.


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