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Jack Abramoff

Jack Abramoff

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Jack Abramoff (ˈeɪbrəmɒf; born February 28, 1958) is an American former lobbyist and businessman. Convicted in 2006 of mail fraud and conspiracy
Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal
The Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal is a United States political scandal relating to the work performed by political lobbyists Jack Abramoff, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Grover Norquist and Michael Scanlon on Indian casino gambling interests for an estimated $85 million in fees. Abramoff and Scanlon...

, he was at the heart of an extensive corruption
Corruption
Corruption usually refers to spiritual or moral impurity.Corruption may also refer to:* Corruption , an American crime film* Corruption , a British horror film...

 investigation that led to the conviction of White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 officials J. Steven Griles and David Safavian
David Safavian
David Hossein Safavian is a former chief of staff of the United States General Services Administration and a figure in the Jack Abramoff lobbying and corruption scandal....

, U.S. Representative Bob Ney
Bob Ney
Robert William Ney is an American politician from the U.S. state of Ohio. A Republican, Ney represented Ohio's 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 until November 3, 2006, when he resigned...

, and nine other lobbyists and Congressional aides. He served three years, six months of a six-year sentence in federal prison before being released early to a Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

 halfway house
Halfway house
The purpose of a halfway house, also called a recovery house or sober house, is generally to allow people to begin the process of reintegration with society, while still providing monitoring and support; this is generally believed to reduce the risk of recidivism or relapse when compared to a...

 on June 8, 2010.

Abramoff was College Republican National Committee National Chairman from 1981 to 1985, and a founding member of the International Freedom Foundation
International Freedom Foundation
The International Freedom Foundation , was a self-described anti-communist group established in Washington, D.C. founded in 1986 by former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Its purported aim was to promote individual and collective freedoms worldwide: freedom of thought; free speech; free association; free...

. He later became a top lobbyist for the firm of Preston Gates & Ellis
Preston Gates & Ellis
Preston Gates & Ellis, LLP, also known as Preston Gates, was a law firm with offices in the United States, China and Taiwan. Its main office was in the IDX Tower in Seattle, Washington...

 and later the firm of Greenberg Traurig
Greenberg Traurig
Greenberg Traurig LLP and Greenberg Traurig PA is an international law firm based in Miami, Florida.The firm has approximately 1,800 attorneys and governmental professionals in 32 locations in the United States, Europe and Asia. Its founding office is in Miami, Florida with its largest office in...

. He served as a director of the National Center for Public Policy Research
National Center for Public Policy Research
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a self-described conservative think tank in the United States. Its president since its founding has been Amy Ridenour. David A. Ridenour, her husband, is vice president, and David W. Almasi is executive director...

, a conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

, and Toward Tradition
Toward Tradition
Toward Tradition is a politically conservative non-profit organization founded by Rabbi Daniel Lapin based in Mercer Island, Washington, United States...

. His wife Pam and their five children live in Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

.

Abramoff's lobbying and the surrounding scandals and investigation are the subject of two 2010 films: the documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money
Casino Jack and the United States of Money
Casino Jack and the United States of Money is a 2010 documentary film directed by Alex Gibney.-Synopsis:The film focuses on the career of Washington, D.C. lobbyist, businessman, and con man Jack Abramoff, who was involved in a massive corruption scandal that led to the conviction of himself, two...

, released in May 2010, and the feature film Casino Jack, released on December 17, 2010, starring Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey, CBE is an American actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and crooner. He grew up in California, and began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s, before being cast in supporting roles in film and television...

 as Abramoff.

Early life


Jack Abramoff was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Atlantic City is a city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, and a nationally renowned resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. The city also served as the inspiration for the American version of the board game Monopoly. Atlantic City is located on Absecon Island on the coast...

 into a wealthy and prominent Jewish family. His father, Franklin Abramoff, was president of the Franchises unit of Diners Club
Diners Club
Diners Club International, founded as Diners Club, is a charge card company formed in 1950 by Frank X. McNamara, Ralph Schneider and Matty Simmons...

.

In 1968, when Abramoff was 10, his family moved to Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills is an affluent city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. With a population of 34,109 at the 2010 census, up from 33,784 as of the 2000 census, it is home to numerous Hollywood celebrities. Beverly Hills and the neighboring city of West Hollywood are together...

. Abramoff attended Beverly Hills High School
Beverly Hills High School
Beverly Hills High School is the only major public high school in Beverly Hills, California. Beverly is part of the Beverly Hills Unified School District and located on on the west side of Beverly Hills, at the...

. During his high school years, he managed both the Beverly Hills and Westwood
Westwood, Los Angeles, California
Westwood is a neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles, California, United States. It is the home of the University of California, Los Angeles .-History:...

 United Artists
United Artists
United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

 movie theater; his father had left Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer
Arnold Daniel Palmer is an American professional golfer, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of men's professional golf. He has won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, dating back to 1955...

 Enterprises to become president of the Diner's Club franchises. At the age of 12, after seeing the film version of Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters by Sholem Aleichem...

, Abramoff decided to become a devout, Orthodox Jew. In high school he played football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 and was a member of the wrestling
Wrestling
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

 team.

College and law school years


As an undergraduate at Brandeis University
Brandeis University
Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus. It is located in the southwestern corner of Waltham, Massachusetts, nine miles west of Boston. The University has an enrollment of approximately 3,200 undergraduate and 2,100 graduate students. In 2011, it...

, Abramoff served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans, which organized student volunteers for Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's 1980 presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 1980
The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

. He graduated in 1981, taking six years to finish his degree, and earned his Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 (J.D.
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

) at the Georgetown University Law Center
Georgetown University Law Center
Georgetown University Law Center is the law school of Georgetown University, located in Washington, D.C.. Established in 1870, the Law Center offers J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. degrees in law...

, in 1986.

According to Nina Easton
Nina Easton
Nina Jane Easton is an American journalist. She serves as the Washington Bureau Chief for Fortune Magazine as well as a commentator on the Fox News Channel, appearing regularly on Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox News Sunday, and Hannity...

's book Gang of Five, Abramoff gained much of his credibility in the conservative movement through his father, Franklin Abramoff. As president of Diners Club International, Abramoff's father worked closely with Alfred S. Bloomingdale
Alfred S. Bloomingdale
Alfred Schiffer Bloomingdale was an heir to the Bloomingdale's department store fortune, and the celebrated lover of murdered Hollywood model Vicki Morgan....

, a personal friend of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, and Abramoff would use the name in fundraising.

College Republican National Chairman


After graduating from Brandeis, Abramoff ran for election as chairman of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC). After a campaign which cost over $10,000 and was managed by Grover Norquist
Grover Norquist
Grover Glenn Norquist is an American lobbyist, conservative activist, and founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform...

, Abramoff won the election after the chief competitor, Amy Moritz
Amy Ridenour
Amy Moritz Ridenour , president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington, DC conservative think tank. Ridenour has held this post since the organization's founding in 1982...

 (who later, as Amy Ridenour, became a founding director of the National Center for Public Policy Research
National Center for Public Policy Research
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a self-described conservative think tank in the United States. Its president since its founding has been Amy Ridenour. David A. Ridenour, her husband, is vice president, and David W. Almasi is executive director...

, and was involved in several trips funded by Jack Abramoff), was persuaded to drop out. Abramoff "changed the direction of the committee and made it more activist and conservative than ever before," notes the CRNC. "It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the Left
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

," Abramoff was quoted as saying in the group's 1983 annual report. "Our job is to remove them from power permanently."

Norquist served as executive director of the committee under Abramoff. He later recruited Ralph Reed
Ralph E. Reed, Jr.
Ralph Eugene Reed, Jr., is a conservative American political activist, best known as the first executive director of the Christian Coalition during the early 1990s. He sought the Republican nomination for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Georgia but lost the primary election on July 18, 2006,...

, a former president of the University of Georgia
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university located in Athens, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest and largest of the state's institutions of higher learning and is one of multiple schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States...

 College Republicans chapter, as an unpaid intern. Reed, still a young student, was invited to sleep on Abramoff’s couch. According to Reed's book Active Faith, Reed also introduced Abramoff to his future wife, Pam Alexander.

Long-standing college political alliances


At the CRNC, Abramoff developed political alliances with College Republican chapter presidents across the nation, many who would later hold key roles in state and national politics and business, and some who would later interact with Abramoff as a lobbyist. Some of those relationships were at the core of the federal investigation.

At the CRNC, Abramoff, Norquist and Reed formed what was known as the "Abramoff-Norquist-Reed triumvirate." After Abramoff's election, the trio purged "dissidents" and re-wrote the CRNC's bylaws to consolidate their control over the organization. According to Gang of Five, Reed was the "hatchet man" and "carried out Abramoff-Norquist orders with ruthless efficiency, not bothering to hide his fingerprints."

In 1983, the CRNC passed a resolution condemning "deliberate planted propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 by the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 and Soviet proxy forces" against the government of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, at a time when that country's government was under worldwide criticism for the apartheid regime.

In 1984, Abramoff and other College Republicans formed the "USA Foundation", a non-partisan tax-exempt organization which held two days of rallies on college campuses around the United States celebrating the first anniversary of the invasion of Grenada
Invasion of Grenada
The Invasion of Grenada, codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, was a 1983 United States-led invasion of Grenada, a Caribbean island nation with a population of about 100,000 located north of Venezuela. Triggered by a military coup which had ousted a four-year revolutionary government, the invasion...

. In a letter to campus Republican leaders, Abramoff claimed:

Citizens for America


In 1985, Abramoff joined Citizens for America
Citizens for America
Citizens for America was a United States conservative grass-roots organization founded by President Ronald Reagan's "Kitchen Cabinet" to support President Reagan's national defense and economic initiatives...

, a pro-Reagan group that helped Oliver North
Oliver North
Oliver Laurence North is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, political commentator, host of War Stories with Oliver North on Fox News Channel, a military historian, and a New York Times best-selling author....

 build support for the Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

n Contras. Citizens for America staged an unprecedented meeting of anti-Communist rebel leaders known as the Democratic International
Democratic International
The Democratic International, also known as the Jamboree in Jamba, was a 1985 meeting of anti-Communist militants held at the headquarters of UNITA in Jamba, Angola....

 in Jamba, Angola
Jamba, Angola
Jamba is a town in Angola, located in the southeastern province of Cuando Cubango, just north of the Namibian border along the Caprivi Strip....

. This conference included leaders of the Mujahedeen from Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, UNITA from Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, the Contras, and opposition groups from Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

. Out of this largely ceremonial conference came the International Freedom Foundation. Abramoff helped to organize, and also attended the conference.

Abramoff's membership ended on a sour note when Citizens for America's sponsor Lewis Lehrman
Lewis Lehrman
For the Texas judge, see Debra Lehrmann.Lewis E. "Lew" Lehrman is an investment banker who actively supports the ongoing study of American history from a conservative perspective. He was presented the National Humanities Medal at the White House in 2005 for his scholarly contributions...

, a former New York gubernatorial candidate, concluded that Abramoff had spent his money carelessly.

In 1986, Reagan appointed Abramoff as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is the United States' official memorial to the Holocaust. Adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the USHMM provides for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history...

 Council.

Work in film production, and South Africa connections


Abramoff spent 10 years in Hollywood. He wrote and produced, with his brother Robert, the 1989 film Red Scorpion
Red Scorpion
Red Scorpion is a 1989 film directed by Joseph Zito starring Dolph Lundgren.-Plot:The plot centers on Lundgren's character Nikolai, a Soviet Spetsnaz-trained KGB agent who is sent to an African country where Soviet, Czechoslovakian and Cuban forces are helping the government fight an anti-communist...

. The film had a $16 million budget and starred Dolph Lundgren
Dolph Lundgren
Dolph Lundgren is a Swedish actor, director, and martial artist. He belongs to a generation of film actors who epitomise the movie action hero stereotype including Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme.A graduate in chemical...

 playing the Spetznaz-like Soviet commando Nikolai, sent by the USSR to assassinate an Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n revolutionary in a country similar to Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

. Nikolai sees the evil of the Soviets and changes sides, becoming a freedom fighter for the African side.

The South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n government financed the film via the International Freedom Foundation
International Freedom Foundation
The International Freedom Foundation , was a self-described anti-communist group established in Washington, D.C. founded in 1986 by former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Its purported aim was to promote individual and collective freedoms worldwide: freedom of thought; free speech; free association; free...

, a front-group chaired by Abramoff, as part of its efforts to undermine international sympathy for the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

.
The filming location was in South-West Africa (now Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

).

On April 27, 1998, Abramoff wrote a letter to the editor of The Seattle Times
The Seattle Times
The Seattle Times is a newspaper serving Seattle, Washington, US. It is the largest daily newspaper in the state of Washington. It has been, since the demise in 2009 of the printed version of the rival Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle's only major daily print newspaper.-History:The Seattle Times...

rebutting an article critical of him and his alleged role as effectively a Public Relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 puppet of the then-apartheid South African military. Abramoff rebutted: "The IFF was a conservative group which I headed. It was vigorously anti-Communist, but it was also actively anti-apartheid. In 1987, it was one of the first conservative groups to call for the release of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

, a position for which it was roundly criticized by other conservatives at the time. While I headed the IFF, we accepted funding only from private individuals and corporations and would have absolutely rejected any offer of South African military funding, or any other kind of funding from any government — good or evil."

During this period in South Africa, Abramoff first met South African–born rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 David Lapin, who would become his religious advisor, and Lapin's brother and fellow rabbi Daniel Lapin
Daniel Lapin
Daniel Lapin is a political commentator and American Orthodox rabbi living on Mercer Island, Washington. He is the founder of Toward Tradition, a politically conservative Jewish-Christian organization. He once headed the Pacific Jewish Center in Venice, California. He is also the former head of...

, who allegedly introduced Abramoff to Congressman Tom DeLay
Tom DeLay
Thomas Dale "Tom" DeLay is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1984 until 2006. He was Republican Party House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005, when he resigned because of criminal money laundering charges in...

 (R-TX
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

) at a Washington, DC dinner shortly after the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. Lapin later claimed that he did not recall the introduction.

Seattle-based lobbying


In December 1994, Abramoff was hired as a lobbyist at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, the lobbying arm of the law firm Preston Gates & Ellis LLP based in Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Seattle is the county seat of King County, Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the largest city in the Northwestern United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the country...

. According to The Seattle Times, following the Republican takeover of Congress in 1995, partner Emanuel Rouvelas determined that the firm "didn't have a conservative, Christian Coalition Republican with strong ties to the new Republican leadership." The traditionally Democrat-leaning firm hired Ambramoff for the specific purpose of attaining these wanted ties. Abramoff was described in a press release as having close ties to Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich
Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich is a U.S. Republican Party politician who served as the House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995 and as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999....

 and Dick Armey
Dick Armey
Richard Keith "Dick" Armey is a former U.S. Representative from Texas's and House Majority Leader . He was one of the engineers of the "Republican Revolution" of the 1990s, in which Republicans were elected to majorities of both houses of Congress for the first time in four decades. Armey was...

.

According to The Seattle Times, Abramoff used Preston Gates & Ellis to access a higher pedigree of clientele.

Choctaw Gambling


In 1995, Abramoff began representing Indian tribes with gambling interests. He became involved with the Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 Band of Choctaw Indians. One of Abramoff's first acts as a tribal gaming lobbyist was to defeat a Congressional bill to tax Indian casinos, sponsored by Reps. Bill Archer
William Reynolds Archer, Jr.
William Reynolds “Bill” Archer, Jr. is a former American lawyer and politician. Archer served two terms, from 1967 to 1971, in the Texas House of Representatives — changing from the Democratic to the Republican party in 1969 — and later represented Texas in the United States House as a Republican...

 (R-TX) and Ernest Istook
Ernest Istook
Ernest James Istook Jr. is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Oklahoma's 5th congressional district. He held his congressional seat for 14 years, completing seven terms in the House...

 (R-OK
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

). According to Washington Business Forward, a lobbying trade magazine, "Tom DeLay was a major factor in those victories, and the fight helped cement the alliance between the two men. DeLay has called Abramoff "one of (his) closest and dearest friends".

The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, on December 29, 2005, reported: "Jack Abramoff liked to slip into dialogue from The Godfather
The Godfather
The Godfather is a 1972 American epic crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo. With a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola and an uncredited Robert Towne, the film stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard...

as he led his lobbying colleagues in planning their next conquest on Capitol Hill. In a favorite bit, he would mimic an ice-cold Michael Corleone
Michael Corleone
Michael Corleone is a fictional character in Mario Puzo's novels, The Godfather and The Sicilian. He is also the main character of the Godfather film trilogy that was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, in which he was portrayed by Al Pacino, who was twice nominated for an Academy Award for his...

 facing down a crooked politician's demand for a cut of Mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

 gambling profits: 'Senator, you can have my answer now if you like. My offer is this: nothing.'"

Salon.com
Salon.com
Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group , often just called Salon, is an online liberal magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot and launched on November 20, 1995. It was the internet's first online-only commercial publication. The magazine focuses on U.S...

 political writer Thomas Frank considers Abramoff to have acted as a con man. In an appearance with former U.S. Representative Bob Ney
Bob Ney
Robert William Ney is an American politician from the U.S. state of Ohio. A Republican, Ney represented Ohio's 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 until November 3, 2006, when he resigned...

 and former Greenberg Traurig
Greenberg Traurig
Greenberg Traurig LLP and Greenberg Traurig PA is an international law firm based in Miami, Florida.The firm has approximately 1,800 attorneys and governmental professionals in 32 locations in the United States, Europe and Asia. Its founding office is in Miami, Florida with its largest office in...

 lobbyist Neil Volz on Kojo Nnamdi's
Kojo Nnamdi
Kojo Nnamdi is an American radio journalist. He was born on 8 January 1945. He is the host of The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and The Politics Hour on WAMU, and the Evening Exchange broadcast on WHUT-TV.-Biography:...

 National Public Radio affiliate WAMU-FM radio show, Alex Gibney
Alex Gibney
Alex Gibney is an American documentary film director and producer. In 2010, Esquire magazine said Gibney "is becoming the most important documentarian of our time."...

, director and writer of the 2010 film
Casino Jack and the United States of Money
Casino Jack and the United States of Money
Casino Jack and the United States of Money is a 2010 documentary film directed by Alex Gibney.-Synopsis:The film focuses on the career of Washington, D.C. lobbyist, businessman, and con man Jack Abramoff, who was involved in a massive corruption scandal that led to the conviction of himself, two...

elaborated on Abramoff's criminal modus operandi
Modus operandi
Modus operandi is a Latin phrase, approximately translated as "mode of operation". The term is used to describe someone's habits or manner of working, their method of operating or functioning...

. Gibney remarked, "one of his (Abramoff's) great gifts was being able to tell people what they wanted to hear, and this was how he was able to sell things and get them into trouble."

Saipan and Northern Mariana Islands



Abramoff and his law firm were paid at least $6.7 million by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) from 1995 to 2001, which may manufacture goods with the "Made in the USA" label but is not subject to U.S. labor and minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

 laws. After Abramoff paid for DeLay and his staffers to go on trips to the CNMI, they crafted policy that extended exemptions from federal immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 and labor laws to the islands' industries. Abramoff also negotiated for a $1.2 million no-bid contract
No-bid contract
The term "no-bid contract" is a popular phrase for what is officially known as a "sole source contract". A sole source contract implies that there is only one person or company that can provide the contractual services needed, and any attempt to obtain bids would only result in one person or...

 from the Marianas for "promoting ethics in government" to be awarded to David Lapin, brother of Daniel Lapin. Abramoff also secretly funded a trip for James E. Clyburn (D-SC
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

) and Bennie Thompson
Bennie Thompson
Bennie G. Thompson, is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993, and the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security since 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party....

 (D-MS
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

). In 1999 Congressman Dana Rohrabacher
Dana Rohrabacher
Dana Tyron Rohrabacher is the U.S. Representative for , and previously the 45th and 42nd, serving since 1989. He is a member of the Republican Party...

 (R-CA
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

) went on an Abramoff-funded trip to the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 with John Doolittle
John Doolittle
John Taylor Doolittle , American politician, was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1991 to 2009, representing . In the 109th Congress, he held a leadership role as the Deputy Whip for the Republican party in the House...

 (R-CA), Ken Calvert
Ken Calvert
Kenneth Stanton "Ken" Calvert is the U.S. Representative for , and previously the 43rd, serving since 1993. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is part of the Inland Empire and south Orange County areas of Southern California.-Early life, education and career:Calvert was born in...

 (R-CA), delegates of Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, American Samoa
American Samoa
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa...

, Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, which form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

 and eight staffers.

Documentation also indicates that Abramoff's lobbying team helped prepare Rep. Ralph Hall
Ralph Hall
Ralph Moody Hall is a United States Representative from . First elected in 1980, Hall is the chairman of the Science Committee and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee...

's (R-TX) statements on the House floor in which he attacked the credibility of escaped teenaged sex worker
Sex worker
A sex worker is a person who works in the sex industry. The term is usually used in reference to those in the sex industry that actually provide such sexual services, as opposed to management and staff of such industries...

 "Katrina," in an attempt to discredit her testimony regarding the state of the sex slave industry on the island. Ms.
Ms. magazine
Ms. is an American feminist magazine co-founded by American feminist and activist Gloria Steinem and founding editor Letty Cottin Pogrebin together with founding editors Patricia Carbine, Joanne Edgar, Nina Finkelstein, and Mary Peacock, that first appeared in 1971 as an insert in New York magazine...

 magazine also explored Abramoff's dealings in the CNMI and the plight of garment workers like Katrina in their spring 2006 article.

Later lobbying efforts involved mailings from a Ralph Reed
Ralph E. Reed, Jr.
Ralph Eugene Reed, Jr., is a conservative American political activist, best known as the first executive director of the Christian Coalition during the early 1990s. He sought the Republican nomination for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Georgia but lost the primary election on July 18, 2006,...

 marketing company to Christian conservative
Christian right
Christian right is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe "right-wing" Christian political groups that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies...

 voters and bribery of Roger Stillwell
Roger Stillwell
Roger G. Stillwell , an American lobbyist. Stillwell was charged with "falsely certifying that he did not receive reportable gifts" from Jack Abramoff and on August 11, 2006, pled guilty to a misdemeanor charges...

, a Department of the Interior official who in 2006 pleaded guilty to accepting gifts from Abramoff.

Naftasib


Executives of Naftasib, a Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n energy company, funneled almost $3.4 million to Abramoff and DeLay advisor Ed Buckham
Ed Buckham
Edwin A. Buckham is a former congressional staffer and lobbyist, who presently is under investigation in various scandals surrounding high-profile lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Congressman Tom DeLay...

 between 1997 and 2005. About $60,000 was spent on a trip to Russia in 1997 for Tom DeLay, Buckham, and Abramoff. In 1998, $1 million was sent to Buckham via his organization U.S. Family Network
U.S. Family Network
U.S. Family Network, Inc. was founded in 1996 by Ed Buckham, who also served as the organization's consultant. USFN was a tax-exempt 501 corporation founded in Virginia, with its principal offices located in the District of Columbia in the same building as Buckham's consulting firm Alexander...

 to "influence DeLay's vote in 1998 on legislation that helped make it possible for the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 to bail out the faltering Russian economy." DeLay voted for the legislation. The money was funneled through the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 company Voor Huisen, the Bahamas company Chelsea Enterprises, and the London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 law firm James & Sarch Co.

The executives involved, who met DeLay during the 1997 trip, were Marina Nevskaya and Alexander Koulakovsky. Nevskaya was also involved in Abramoff's support of an Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i military academy, as indicated by an email sent to Abramoff.

eLottery, Inc.



In 1999, eLottery hired Abramoff to block the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act
Internet Gambling Prohibition Act
The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was a 1999 bill in the US Senate to ban Internet gambling. Passage of the bill was defeated, in large part, by the lobbying efforts of Jack Abramoff...

, which he did by enlisting Reed, Norquist, and Tom DeLay's former chief of staff, Tony Rudy
Tony Rudy
Tony Charles Rudy , an American lobbyist and an associate of Jack Abramoff. After serving as a staffer in the office of U. S. Representative Tom DeLay from approximately 1995 to 2001, and rising to deputy chief of staff, Rudy joined "Team Abramoff" at Greenberg Traurig. Rudy was implicated in the...

.

Emails from 2000 show that Susan Ralston
Susan Ralston
Susan Bonzon Ralston , is the President of SBR Enterprises, LLC, a government affairs, public relations and business consulting firm in the United States...

 helped Abramoff pass checks from eLottery to Lou Sheldon
Lou Sheldon
Louis P. Sheldon is an American Presbyterian pastor and chairman of the social conservative organization, the Traditional Values Coalition...

's Traditional Values Coalition
Traditional Values Coalition
The Traditional Values Coalition is a conservative Christian organization that represents, by its estimate, over 43,000 Christian churches throughout the United States of America...

 (TVC) and also to Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform
Americans for Tax Reform
Americans for Tax Reform is an advocacy group and taxpayer group whose stated goal is "a system in which taxes are simpler, flatter, more visible, and lower than they are today. The government's power to control one's life derives from its power to tax...

 (ATR), in route to Reed's company, Century Strategies.

Abramoff joins Greenberg Traurig



On January 8, 2001, Abramoff left Preston Gates to join the Government Relations division of the Washington, D.C. law firm Greenberg Traurig
Greenberg Traurig
Greenberg Traurig LLP and Greenberg Traurig PA is an international law firm based in Miami, Florida.The firm has approximately 1,800 attorneys and governmental professionals in 32 locations in the United States, Europe and Asia. Its founding office is in Miami, Florida with its largest office in...

, which once described him as "directly involved in the Republican party and conservative movement leadership structures" and "one of the leading fund raisers for the party and its congressional candidates." With the move to Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff took as much as $6 million worth of client business from his old firm, including the Marianas Islands account. At Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff recruited a team of lobbyists known familiarly as "Team Abramoff". The team included many of his former employees from Preston Gates and former senior staffers of members of Congress.

Tribal lobbying


Abramoff's Tribal Clients
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of Cahuilla Indians, located in Riverside County, California.-Reservation:...



Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
The Cherokee Nation is the largest of three Cherokee federally recognized tribes in the United States. It was established in the 20th century, and includes people descended from members of the old Cherokee Nation who relocated voluntarily from the Southeast to Indian Territory and Cherokees who...



Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana

Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana

Mashpee Wampanoag people of Massachusetts

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Indians. On April 20, 1945, the tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also in 1945 the Choctaw Indian Reservation was created in Neshoba and surrounding counties...



Pueblo of Sandia
Sandia Pueblo
Sandia Pueblo is a tribe of Native American Pueblo people inhabiting a 101.114 km² reservation of the same name in the eastern Rio Grande Valley of central New Mexico, located three miles south of Bernalillo off Highway 85 in southern Sandoval County and northern Bernalillo County, at...



Pueblo of Santa Clara

Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe

Tigua Indian Reservation
Ysleta del Sur Pueblo
Ysleta del Sur Pueblo is a Puebloan Native American tribal entity in the Ysleta section of El Paso, Texas, comprising a formerly Southern Tiwa-speaking people who were displaced from New Mexico in 1680 and 1681 during the Pueblo Revolt against the Spaniards.-Tigua:In Spanish the people and...



Around the time he joined Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff's choice of lobbying clients changed to focus much more on Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 tribes. While Abramoff was a registered lobbyist for 51 clients while working at Preston Gates, with only four being tribes, Abramoff would eventually represent 24 clients for whom he was registered lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig, of which seven were tribes.

Tyco International Ltd.


Former White House Deputy Counsel Timothy Flanigan
Timothy Flanigan
Timothy Elliott Flanigan is an American lawyer and politician.On May 24, 2005, President George W. Bush nominated him as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, the #2 position in the Department of Justice. On October 7, 2005, his name was withdrawn from consideration...

 left his job in December 2002 to work as General Counsel for Corporate and International Law at Tyco International
Tyco International
Tyco International Ltd. is a highly diversified global manufacturing company incorporated in Switzerland, with United States operational headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey...

. He immediately hired Abramoff to lobby Congress and the White House on matters relating to Tyco's Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

 tax-exempt status. Flanigan stated to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Abramoff bragged that he could help Tyco avoid tax liability aimed at offshore companies
Offshore company
The term offshore company is ambiguous. It may refer to either:# A company which is incorporated outside the jurisdiction of its primary operations regardless of whether that jurisdiction is an offshore financial centre i.e...

 because he "had good relationships with members of Congress."

Tyco Inc. claimed in August 2005 that Abramoff had been paid $1.7 million for "astroturfing
Astroturfing
Astroturfing is a form of advocacy in support of a political, organizational, or corporate agenda, designed to give the appearance of a "grassroots" movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political and/or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some...

", or the creation of a fake "grassroots
Grassroots
A grassroots movement is one driven by the politics of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures...

" campaign to oppose proposals to penalize US corporations registered abroad for tax reasons. The work allegedly was never performed, and most of the fee Tyco paid Abramoff to lobby against the legislation was "diverted to entities controlled by Mr. Abramoff".

Lobbying for national governments


Abramoff's team represented the government of Malaysia, and worked toward improving Malaysian relations with the United States, particularly with trade relations.

Abramoff also met with the government of Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, offering a plan to deflect criticism from American Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 groups over the regime's alleged role in the Darfur conflict
Darfur conflict
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

. Abramoff promised to enlist Reed to assist, as well as starting a grassroots campaign to improve the image of Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 in America.

Channel One News


Abramoff has been a lobbyist for the school TV news service Channel One News
Channel One News
Channel One News is a 12 minute news program for teens broadcast via satellite to middle schools and high schools across the United States. Channel One is owned by Alloy Media + Marketing and based in New York City.-Program History:...

. From 1999 to 2003, Channel One retained him to ensure Congress did not block funds to their service. Not only did Channel One face frequent campaigns by political groups to persuade Congress to limit its presence in schools, but it also derived much of its advertising revenue from U.S. government sources, including the Office of National Drug Control Policy
Office of National Drug Control Policy
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy , a former cabinet level component of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, was established in 1989 by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988...

 and military recruitment. Since Abramoff and Channel One parted ways, Channel One's advertising revenues have dropped substantially, but a cause-and-effect relationship would be difficult to establish.

Telecommunications firm


On October 18, 2005, The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

reported that Bob Ney, as chair of the House Administration Committee, approved a 2002 license for an Israeli telecommunications company to install antennas for the House. The company, then Foxcom Wireless, an Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i start-up telecommunications firm, (which has since moved headquarters from Jerusalem to Vienna, Virginia
Vienna, Virginia
Vienna is a town in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, it had a population of 15,687. Significantly more people live in zip codes with the Vienna postal addresses bordered approximately by Interstate 66 on the south, Interstate 495 on the east, Route 7 to...

, and been renamed MobileAccess Networks) later paid Abramoff $280,000 for lobbying. It also donated $50,000 to the Capital Athletic Foundation
Capital Athletic Foundation
The Capital Athletic Foundation is a 501 charity organization founded in 2000. The organization's nominal purpose was to provide needy youths with athletic opportunities. The organization has been used by its founder, Jack Abramoff, as a front group for channeling money into his own political...

 charity that Abramoff sometimes used to secretly pay for some of his lobbying activities. In Michael Scanlon
Michael Scanlon
Michael Scanlon, AKA "Sean Scanlon", is a former communications director for Rep. Tom DeLay, lobbyist, and public relations executive who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges related to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal...

's plea agreement, this activity was described as public corruption.

Skyboxes, "Signatures", and Scotland


Abramoff maintained four skybox
Luxury box
A Luxury box is a special seating section located within stadiums, arenas and other sporting and entertainment venues. They are typically located in the midsection of a stadium grandstand, usually providing the best views of the event...

es at major sports arenas for political entertaining at a cost of over $1 million a year. Abramoff hosted many fundraisers at these skyboxes including events for politicians publicly opposed to gambling, such as John Doolittle
John Doolittle
John Taylor Doolittle , American politician, was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1991 to 2009, representing . In the 109th Congress, he held a leadership role as the Deputy Whip for the Republican party in the House...

.

Then Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member and current Chairman Max Baucus
Max Baucus
Max Sieben Baucus is the senior United States Senator from Montana and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected to the Senate in 1978, as of 2010 he is the longest-serving Senator from Montana, and the fifth longest-serving U.S...

 returned $18,892 in contributions that his office found to be connected to Abramoff. Included in the returned donations was an estimated $1,892 that was never reported for Baucus' use of Abramoff's skybox at a professional sports arena and concert venue in downtown Washington in 2001.

Abramoff also was co-owner of Signatures Restaurant
Signatures Restaurant
Signatures Restaurant is the Washington D.C. restaurant opened by Jack Abramoff. Expensive and lavishly appointed with expensive memorabilia, Villeroy & Boch chargers and Christofle flatware, Signatures was used by Abramoff in coordination with his skyboxes and foreign trips to spend money...

, a high-end Washington establishment which he used to reward friends and associates. His fellow lobbyist Kevin A. Ring
Kevin A. Ring
Kevin A. Ring is a former lobbyist and Republican Congressional staffer. He was a figure in the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal scandal. After leaving Team Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig in 2005, he joined Barnes & Thornburg LLP law firm in Washington, DC...

 treated Justice Department official Robert E. Coughlin
Robert E. Coughlin
Robert E. Coughlin, II, is an American lawyer and was formerly the Deputy Chief of Staff, Criminal Division, of the United States Department of Justice. He was convicted in the aftermath of the Abramoff scandal.- Abramoff scandal :...

 to free tickets to the skyboxes and took him out to Signatures multiple times in exchange for favors.
The restaurant, once thriving, was closed once investigations closed in on Abramoff.

DeLay, Ney and Florida Republican Representative Tom Feeney
Tom Feeney
Thomas Charles "Tom" Feeney III, usually known as Tom Feeney , is an American politician from the state of Florida. He represented . He was defeated in the 2008 election by Democrat Suzanne Kosmas.-Early life:...

 have each gone on golf trips to Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 that were apparently arranged or funded by Abramoff. These trips took place in 2000, 2002 and 2003. Ney and Feeney each claimed that their trips were paid for by the National Center for Public Policy Research
National Center for Public Policy Research
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a self-described conservative think tank in the United States. Its president since its founding has been Amy Ridenour. David A. Ridenour, her husband, is vice president, and David W. Almasi is executive director...

, but the group denied this. Spokespeople for Ney and Feeney blamed others for filing errors. Ney later pleaded guilty to knowing that Abramoff had paid for the trip.

A former top procurement official in the Bush administration
George W. Bush administration
The presidency of George W. Bush began on January 20, 2001, when he was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush, George W...

, David H. Safavian, has been convicted of lying and obstruction of justice
Obstruction of justice
The crime of obstruction of justice, in United States jurisdictions, refers to the crime of interfering with the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other officials...

 in connection with the Abramoff investigation. Safavian, who traveled to Scotland with Reed and Ney on a golf outing arranged by Abramoff, was accused of concealing from federal investigators information about Abramoff's plans to do business with the General Services Administration
General Services Administration
The General Services Administration is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. The GSA supplies products and communications for U.S...

 at the time of the golf trip — in particular, seeking help finding property for his private religious school, Eshkol Academy, and for one of his tribal clients. Safavian was then GSA chief of staff.

Access to the Bush administration


Jack Abramoff was a highly influential figure as lobbyist and activist in the Bush administration
George W. Bush administration
The presidency of George W. Bush began on January 20, 2001, when he was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush, George W...

. In 2001, Abramoff was a member of the Bush administration's 2001 Transition Advisory Team assigned to the Department of the Interior. Abramoff befriended the incoming Deputy Secretary of the Interior J. Steven Griles.

The draft report of the House Government Reform Committee said the documents — largely Abramoff's billing records and e-mails — listed 485 lobbying contacts with White House officials over three years, including 10 with top Bush aide Karl Rove
Karl Rove
Karl Christian Rove was Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush until Rove's resignation on August 31, 2007. He has headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives...

. The report said that of the 485 contacts listed, 345 were described as meetings or other in-person contacts; 71 were described as phone conversations and 69 were e-mail exchanges.

In the first ten months of 2001, the Abramoff lobbying team logged almost 200 contacts with the Bush administration. He may have used these senior level contacts to assist in his lobbying for Indian tribes concerning tribal gaming. The Department of the Interior has Federal regulatory authority over tribal affairs such as tribal recognition and gaming. From 2000 to 2003, six Indian tribes paid Abramoff over $80 million in lobbying fees.

The Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs has authority over policy and grants to US territories such as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This may have assisted Abramoff in lobbying for textile
Textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

 interests in the islands. U.S. Senator Conrad Burns
Conrad Burns
Conrad Ray Burns is a former United States Senator from Montana. He is only the second Republican to represent Montana in the Senate since the passage in 1913 of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and is the longest-serving Republican senator in Montana history.While in...

 (R-MT
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

) and DeLay also heavily lobbied the CNMI for opposing the minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

.

Abramoff asked for $9 million in 2003 from the president of Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

, Omar Bongo
Omar Bongo
El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba , born as Albert-Bernard Bongo, was a Gabonese politician who was President of Gabon for 42 years from 1967 until his death in office in 2009....

, to arrange a meeting with Bush and directed his fees to an Abramoff-controlled lobbying firm, GrassRoots Interactive
GrassRoots Interactive
GrassRoots Interactive , now defunct, was a small Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, lobbying firm controlled by Jack Abramoff. It was founded "with a $10,000 investment" by the company's sole owner, Republican lawyer Edward B...

. Bongo did meet with Bush in the Oval Office on May 26, 2004. There has been no evidence in the public record that Abramoff had any role in organizing the meeting, or that he received any money or had a signed contract with Gabon.

White House and State Department officials described Bush's meeting with Bongo, whose government is regularly accused by the United States of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 abuses, as routine. The officials said they knew of no involvement by Abramoff in the arrangements. Officials at Gabon's embassy in Washington did not respond to written questions.

Susan Ralston
Susan Ralston
Susan Bonzon Ralston , is the President of SBR Enterprises, LLC, a government affairs, public relations and business consulting firm in the United States...

, Rove's assistant since 2001, previously worked as an administrative assistant for both Abramoff and Reed.

According to former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Abramoff was paid $1.2 million to arrange a meeting between Mahathir and Bush, allegedly at the direction of the Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

. Mahathir insisted that someone unknown to him had paid for the meeting.

On May 9, 2001, Chief Raul Garza of the Kickapoo tribe of Texas met with Bush, with Abramoff and Norquist in attendance. Abramoff was identified in the background of a photo taken at the meeting. Days before the meeting, the tribe paid $25,000 to Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform at Abramoff's direction. According to the organization's communications director, John Kartch, the meeting was one of several gatherings with Bush sponsored by ATR. On the same day, the chief of the Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 Coushatta
Coushatta
----The Coushatta are a historic Muskogean-speaking Native American people living primarily in the U.S. state of Louisiana. When first encountered by Europeans, they lived in the territory of present-day Georgia and Alabama...

s also attended an ATR-sponsored gathering with Bush. The Coushattas also gave $25,000 to ATR soon before the event.

The details of the Kickapoo meeting and a letter dated May 10, 2001, from ATR thanking the Kickapoos for their contribution were revealed to the New York Times in 2006 by former council elder Isidro Garza, who with Raul Garza (no relation), is under indictment in Texas for embezzling
Embezzlement
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

 tribal money. According to Isidro Garza, Abramoff did not say the donation was required to meet Bush; the White House denied any knowledge of the transaction.

Other photos have surfaced of Abramoff and Bush meeting at the White House and Oval Office
Oval Office
The Oval Office, located in the West Wing of the White House, is the official office of the President of the United States.The room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk, and a fireplace at the north end...

 on either December 22 or 23, 2002. The photos were found on a site that published many pictures of governmental events, ReflectionsOrders.com. The owner of the site removed the photos almost immediately when the presence of Abramoff and Bush together was discovered. Some Internet users located the photos and preserved copies of some of them. The owner of the site gave thousands of dollars to the Bush campaign and Republican National Committee
Republican National Committee
The Republican National Committee is an American political committee that provides national leadership for the Republican Party of the United States. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. It is...

, according to public FEC contribution records.

An NPR
NPR
NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

 news report from March 2006 stated that: "...Abramoff recently granted a rare press interview to Vanity Fair magazine, where he asserts President Bush and other prominent figures in Washington know him very well. He called them liars for denying contact with him".

In June 2006, Abramoff began secretly granting exclusive interviews to former Boston Globe investigative reporter Gary S. Chafetz, without the knowledge of Abramoff's attorneys or the federal prosecutors with whom Abramoff had been cooperating. These interviews — conducted before and during Abramoff's imprisonment — continued until May 2008. In September 2008, Chafetz' book, The Perfect Villain: John McCain and the Demonization of Lobbyist Jack Abramoff was rushed into print prior to the 2008 presidential election. In his book, Chafetz asserted that Abramoff, though guilty of some of the charges, was the victim of misleading and sensational reporting by the Washington Post, vengeance and mendacity on the part of Sen. John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 (R-AZ
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

), and strong-arm tactics of the Justice Department who forced Abramoff into confessing to crimes he did not believe he was guilty of. Chafetz also accused federal prosecutors of abusive — and possibly illegal — tactics in their reliance on private and public honest services fraud
Honest services fraud
Honest services fraud refers to a 28-word sentence of , added by the United States Congress in 1988, which states: "For the purposes of this chapter, the term, scheme or artifice to defraud includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services."The statute...

, which he characterized as vague and controversial.

Abramoff organizations


Abramoff has founded or run several non-profit organizations, including Capital Athletic Foundation and Eshkol Academy; as well as lobbying firms and political think tanks such as American International Center
American International Center
The American International Center LLC was a front organization established in 2001 by Michael Scanlon as part of his conspiracy with Jack Abramoff to receive and redistribute funds given by their clients for personal and political gain...

, GrassRoots Interactive, and the National Center for Public Policy Research. While these organizations had varying degrees of legitimate activities, it has come to light that Abramoff used these organizations to channel millions of dollars to recipients not related to the organizations.

Capital Athletic Foundation and Eshkol Academy



Although Federal tax records show that various Indian tribes donated more than $6 million to the Capital Athletic Foundation, less than 1% of the money went to athletic programs, the stated purpose of the foundation. The majority of the funds went to the Eshkol Academy in Maryland, an Orthodox Jewish school founded by Abramoff in 2002. Hundreds of thousands of dollars from CAF were also spent on golf trips to Scotland for Abramoff, Ney, Reed, and Safavian, as well as purchases of camping equipment sent to a high school friend. Abramoff solicited Safavian's help in looking for property deals for Eshkol Academy and tribal clients, leading to Safavian's conviction.

GrassRoots Interactive and Kay Gold


GrassRoots Interactive, now defunct, was a small Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It had a population of 71,452 at the 2010 census, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown.The urbanized, oldest, and...

, lobbying firm controlled by Abramoff. Millions of dollars flowed into GrassRoots Interactive in 2003, the year it was created, and then flowed out again to unusual places. At least $2.3 million went to a California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 consulting firm that used the same address as the law office of Abramoff's brother, Robert. A separate check for $400,000, from GrassRoots, was made out to Kay Gold LLC, another Abramoff family company.

Maldon Institute


Abramoff was a board member and secretary/treasurer of the Maldon Institute for at least five years (1999–2003). He was one of only four board members, including John Rees
John Rees (journalist)
John Rees is a British right wing journalist resident in the United States of America. Based out of Baltimore, Maryland, he was active during the 1970s and 1980s. He ran a network of private informants on college campuses in the United States, that Political Research Associates referred to as often...

.

Scandal and criminal investigations


In late 2004, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee began to investigate Abramoff's lobbying on behalf of American Indian tribes and casinos. In September he was called before the Committee to answer questions about that work, but pleaded the fifth. In August 2005, Abramoff and Kidan were indicted by a federal jury in Miami on wire fraud charges related to their dealings with SunCruz Casinos
SunCruz Casinos
SunCruz Casinos was one of many cruise lines that offered offshore "cruises to nowhere", legally transporting passengers into international waters beyond the reach of federal and state gambling laws...

.

On January 3, 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to three criminal felony
Felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

 counts related to the defrauding of American Indian tribes and corruption of public officials
Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal
The Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal is a United States political scandal relating to the work performed by political lobbyists Jack Abramoff, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Grover Norquist and Michael Scanlon on Indian casino gambling interests for an estimated $85 million in fees. Abramoff and Scanlon...

, in a Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, federal court
United States federal courts
The United States federal courts make up the judiciary branch of federal government of the United States organized under the United States Constitution and laws of the federal government.-Categories:...

. The four tribes Abramoff and his associates had been involved with included Michigan's Saginaw Chippewas, California's Agua Caliente
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of Cahuilla Indians, located in Riverside County, California.-Reservation:...

, the Mississippi Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

s, and the Louisiana Coushatta
Coushatta
----The Coushatta are a historic Muskogean-speaking Native American people living primarily in the U.S. state of Louisiana. When first encountered by Europeans, they lived in the territory of present-day Georgia and Alabama...

s. Abramoff was accused of defrauding the tribes of tens of millions of dollars on issues associated with Indian gaming.
The following day he pleaded guilty to two criminal felony counts in a separate federal court, in Miami
Miami, Florida
Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625...

, related to the SunCruz deal.

On September 4, 2008, a Washington court found Abramoff guilty of trading expensive gifts, meals and sports trips in exchange for political favors, and he was sentenced to a four-year term in prison, to be served concurrently with his previous sentences.

Abramoff served three and a half years of a six-year sentence after pleading guilty in January 2006 to charges of conspiracy
Conspiracy (civil)
A civil conspiracy or collusion is an agreement between two or more parties to deprive a third party of legal rights or deceive a third party to obtain an illegal objective....

, honest services fraud
Honest services fraud
Honest services fraud refers to a 28-word sentence of , added by the United States Congress in 1988, which states: "For the purposes of this chapter, the term, scheme or artifice to defraud includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services."The statute...

, and tax evasion
Tax evasion
Tax evasion is the general term for efforts by individuals, corporations, trusts and other entities to evade taxes by illegal means. Tax evasion usually entails taxpayers deliberately misrepresenting or concealing the true state of their affairs to the tax authorities to reduce their tax liability,...

. For the mail fraud, conspiracy, and tax evasion charges stemming from the influence-peddling scandal in Washington, Abramoff was sentenced to four years in federal prison on September 4, 2008, by U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle
Ellen Segal Huvelle
Ellen Segal Huvelle is a federal judge sitting in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She has overseen several significant cases...

. He had faced up to 11 years in prison. Abramoff cooperated in a bribery investigation involving lawmakers, their aides, and members of the Bush administration.

People convicted in Abramoff probe


Lawmakers, lobbyists, Bush administration officials, congressional staffers, and businessmen caught up in the Jack Abramoff public corruption probe:
  • Adam Kidan
    Adam Kidan
    Adam Kidan is an American businessman, the former owner of SunCruz Casinos and former president of Atlantic & Pacific Mattress Co. He was one of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's business partners, and became a national figure when his involvement in one of Abramoff's illegal lobbying ventures came to...

     (a former Abramoff business partner), was sentenced in Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

     in March 2006 to nearly six years in prison for conspiracy
    Conspiracy (crime)
    In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement...

     and fraud
    Fraud
    In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

     in the 2000 purchase of the Fort Lauderdale-based SunCruz Casinos
    SunCruz Casinos
    SunCruz Casinos was one of many cruise lines that offered offshore "cruises to nowhere", legally transporting passengers into international waters beyond the reach of federal and state gambling laws...

     gambling fleet.
  • Susan B. Ralston (R) Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to Karl Rove
    Karl Rove
    Karl Christian Rove was Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush until Rove's resignation on August 31, 2007. He has headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives...

    , resigned October 6, 2006 after it became known that she accepted gifts and passed information to her former boss Jack Abramoff.
  • Roger Stillwell
    Roger Stillwell
    Roger G. Stillwell , an American lobbyist. Stillwell was charged with "falsely certifying that he did not receive reportable gifts" from Jack Abramoff and on August 11, 2006, pled guilty to a misdemeanor charges...

     (R) Staff in the Department of the Interior
    United States Department of the Interior
    The United States Department of the Interior is the United States federal executive department of the U.S. government responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources, and the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native...

     under George W. Bush. Pleaded guilty and received two years suspended sentence http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/politics/4110839.html for not reporting hundreds of dollars worth of sports and concert tickets he received from Abramoff.
  • Steven Griles
    Steven Griles
    James Steven "Steve" Griles was a coal industry lobbyist and the United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior during the George W...

    , (R) (former Deputy Interior Secretary) the highest-ranking Bush administration official convicted in the scandal, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. He admitted lying to a Senate committee about his relationship with Abramoff, who repeatedly sought Griles' intervention at Interior on behalf of Indian tribal clients.
  • David Safavian
    David Safavian
    David Hossein Safavian is a former chief of staff of the United States General Services Administration and a figure in the Jack Abramoff lobbying and corruption scandal....

    , (R) (former White House official), the Bush administration's former top procurement official, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in October 2006 after he was found guilty of covering up his dealings with Abramoff. found guilty of blocking justice and lying, and sentenced to 18 months
  • Bob Ney
    Bob Ney
    Robert William Ney is an American politician from the U.S. state of Ohio. A Republican, Ney represented Ohio's 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 until November 3, 2006, when he resigned...

    , then U. S. Representative, (R
    Republican Party (United States)
    The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

    -Ohio
    Ohio
    Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

    ), pleaded guilty September 2006, sentenced in January 2007 to 2½ years in prison, acknowledged taking bribes from Abramoff. Ney was in the traveling party on an Abramoff-sponsored golf trip to Scotland
    Scotland
    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

     at the heart of the case against Safavian.
  1. Neil Volz
    Neil Volz
    Neil Volz was Chief of Staff to Representative Bob Ney , staff director of the House Administration Committee, and later part of Team Abramoff, when he left Capitol Hill in February 2002 to work for Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig LLP...

    , (R) a former chief of staff to Ney who left government to work for Abramoff, pleaded guilty in May 2006 to conspiring to corrupt Ney and others with trips and other aid
  2. William Heaton
    William Heaton
    William Heaton is the former chief of staff for former Rep. Bob Ney , and a supporting figure in the Abramoff scandal.-Education:...

    , (R) former chief of staff for Ney, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge involving a golf trip to Scotland, expensive meals, and tickets to sporting events between 2002 and 2004 as payoffs for helping Abramoff's clients.
  3. Thomas Hart
    Thomas Hart
    Thomas Hart or Tom Hart may refer to:* Thomas C. Hart , U.S. naval admiral* Thomas Hart , cricketer* Thomas Hart , senator from Orange County, N.C., in the North Carolina General Assembly of 1777...

     (R) , former chief of staff for Ney, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge involving a golf trip to Scotland, expensive meals, and tickets to sporting events between 2002 and 2004 as payoffs for helping Abramoff's clients.
    • Italia Federici
      Italia Federici
      Italia Federici , the former president of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy . Federici was also a political aide to Secretary of the Interior and CREA co-founder Gale Norton...

      , (R) co-founder of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy
      Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy
      Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy is a Republican environmental organization founded in 1998 by Gale Norton, who in 2001 became George W. Bush's U.S. Secretary of the Interior...

      , pleaded guilty to tax evasion
      Tax evasion
      Tax evasion is the general term for efforts by individuals, corporations, trusts and other entities to evade taxes by illegal means. Tax evasion usually entails taxpayers deliberately misrepresenting or concealing the true state of their affairs to the tax authorities to reduce their tax liability,...

       and obstruction of a Senate investigation into Abramoff's relationship with officials at the Department of Interior.
    • Mark Zachares
      Mark Zachares
      Mark Zachares is a former Congressional aide to Rep. Don Young and lobbyist who pleaded guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from lobbyist Jack Abramoff in return for using his position in Congress to advance Abramoff's interests....

      , former aide to U. S. Representative Don Young
      Don Young
      Donald Edwin "Don" Young is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1973. He is a member of the Republican Party.Young is the 6th most senior U.S. Representative and the 2nd most senior Republican Representative, as well as the 2nd most senior Republican in Congress as a whole...

      , (R
      Republican Party (United States)
      The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

      -Alaska
      Alaska
      Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

      ), pleaded guilty to conspiracy. He acknowledged accepting tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts and a golf trip to Scotland from Abramoff's team in exchange for official acts on the lobbyist's behalf.
    • Kevin A. Ring
      Kevin A. Ring
      Kevin A. Ring is a former lobbyist and Republican Congressional staffer. He was a figure in the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal scandal. After leaving Team Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig in 2005, he joined Barnes & Thornburg LLP law firm in Washington, DC...

       former staff to John Doolittle (R-CA) was convicted of five charges of corruption.
    • James Hirni
      James Hirni
      James F. Hirni is a lobbyist who was convicted for bribing Senate Staff aides in return for favorable amendments to federal legislation. A former aide to Sen. Tim Hutchinson , he joined the lobbying firm Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, and then became a member of "Team Abramoff" at Greenberg Traurig...

      , former staff to Tim Hutchinson (R-AR) was charged with wire fraud for giving a staffer for Don Young
      Don Young
      Donald Edwin "Don" Young is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1973. He is a member of the Republican Party.Young is the 6th most senior U.S. Representative and the 2nd most senior Republican Representative, as well as the 2nd most senior Republican in Congress as a whole...

       (R) of Alaska a bribe in exchange for amendments to the Federal Highway Bill. (2008)
    • Tom DeLay
      Tom DeLay
      Thomas Dale "Tom" DeLay is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1984 until 2006. He was Republican Party House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005, when he resigned because of criminal money laundering charges in...

       (R-TX) The House Majority Leader was reprimanded twice by the House Ethics Committee and his aides indicted (2004–2005); eventually DeLay himself was investigated in October 2005 in connection with the Abramoff scandal, but not indicted. DeLay resigned from the House 9 June 2006. Delay was found to have illegally channeled funds from Americans for a Republican Majority
      Americans for a Republican Majority
      Americans for a Republican Majority was a political action committee formed by former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and directed by Karl Gallant. On July 7, 2006 ARMPAC reached an agreement with the Federal Election Commission to pay a fine of $115,000 for various violations and to...

       to Republican state legislator campaigns. He was convicted of two counts of money laundering and conspiracy in 2010.
  4. Michael Scanlon
    Michael Scanlon
    Michael Scanlon, AKA "Sean Scanlon", is a former communications director for Rep. Tom DeLay, lobbyist, and public relations executive who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges related to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal...

     (R) former staff to Tom DeLay: working for Abramoff, pled guilty to bribery.
  5. Tony Rudy
    Tony Rudy
    Tony Charles Rudy , an American lobbyist and an associate of Jack Abramoff. After serving as a staffer in the office of U. S. Representative Tom DeLay from approximately 1995 to 2001, and rising to deputy chief of staff, Rudy joined "Team Abramoff" at Greenberg Traurig. Rudy was implicated in the...

     (R) former staff to Tom DeLay, pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
  6. James W. Ellis (R) executive director of Tom DeLay's political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority
    Americans for a Republican Majority
    Americans for a Republican Majority was a political action committee formed by former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and directed by Karl Gallant. On July 7, 2006 ARMPAC reached an agreement with the Federal Election Commission to pay a fine of $115,000 for various violations and to...

     (ARMPAC), was indicted by Texas for money laundering.
  7. John Colyandro
    John Colyandro
    John Dominick Colyandro is the former executive director of the political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority. Colyandro has been indicted for money laundering and unlawful acceptance of corporate contributions....

     executive director of Tom DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority
    Texans for a Republican Majority
    Texans for a Republican Majority or TRMPAC is a general-purpose political action committee registered with the Texas Ethics Commission. It was founded in 2001 by former Republican Texas U.S. Rep...

     (TRMPAC), was indicted by Texas for money laundering
    • John Albaugh
      John Albaugh
      John Albaugh is the former Chief of Staff to Congressman Ernest Istook and was a cooperating witness in the Department of Justice investigation of Kevin Ring, a lobbyist and an associate of Jack Abramoff. In June of 2008 Albaugh plead guilty to conspiracy with Kevin Ring...

       former chief of staff to Ernest Istook
      Ernest Istook
      Ernest James Istook Jr. is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Oklahoma's 5th congressional district. He held his congressional seat for 14 years, completing seven terms in the House...

       (R-OK) pled guilty to accepting bribes connected to the Federal Highway Bill. Istook was not charged. (2008)
    • Jared Carpenter
      Jared Carpenter
      Robert Jared Carpenter was the vice president of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy beginning in 2000. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to one count of income tax evasion. He and CREA president Italia Federici, who previously pleaded guilty on similar charges, had used CREA funds for...

       (R) Vice-President of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy
      Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy
      Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy is a Republican environmental organization founded in 1998 by Gale Norton, who in 2001 became George W. Bush's U.S. Secretary of the Interior...

      , was discovered during the Abramoff investigation and pled guilty to income tax evasion. He got 45 days, plus 4 years probation.
    • Robert E. Coughlin
      Robert E. Coughlin
      Robert E. Coughlin, II, is an American lawyer and was formerly the Deputy Chief of Staff, Criminal Division, of the United States Department of Justice. He was convicted in the aftermath of the Abramoff scandal.- Abramoff scandal :...

       (R) Deputy Chief of Staff, Criminal Division of the Justice Department pleaded guilty to conflict of interest after accepting bribes from Jack Abramoff. (2008)

Indian tribes grand jury investigations


Abramoff and his partner Michael Scanlon
Michael Scanlon
Michael Scanlon, AKA "Sean Scanlon", is a former communications director for Rep. Tom DeLay, lobbyist, and public relations executive who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges related to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal...

 (a former Tom DeLay aide) conspired to bilk Indian casino gambling interests out of an estimated $85 million in fees. The lobbyists also orchestrated lobbying against their own clients in order to force them to pay for lobbying services. These practices were the subject both of long-running criminal prosecution and hearings by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. On November 21, 2005, Scanlon pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress and other public officials.

On January 3, 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to three felony counts—conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion—involving charges stemming principally from his lobbying activities in Washington on behalf of Native American tribes. In addition, Abramoff and other defendants must make restitution of at least $25 million that was defrauded from clients, primarily the Native American tribes. Further, Abramoff owes the Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

 $1.7 million as a result of his guilty plea to the tax evasion charge. In the agreement, Abramoff admits to bribing public officials, including Ney. Also included: the hiring of congressional staffers and conspiring with them to lobby their former employers -— including members of Congress -— in violation of a one-year federal ban on such lobbying.

Later in 2006 Abramoff lobbyists Neil Volz and Tony Rudy pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges; in September 2006 Ney himself pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements.

SunCruz Casinos fraud conviction



On August 11, 2005, Abramoff and Kidan were indicted by a federal grand jury
Grand jury
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing...

 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, on the Atlantic coast. It is the county seat of Broward County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 165,521. It is a principal city of the South Florida metropolitan area, which was home to 5,564,635 people at the 2010...

, on fraud charges arising from a 2000 deal to buy SunCruz Casinos from Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis. Abramoff and Kidan are accused of using a fake wire transfer
Wire transfer
Wire transfer or credit transfer is a method of electronic funds transfer from one person or institution to another. A wire transfer can be made from one bank account to another bank account or through a transfer of cash at a cash office...

 to make lenders believe that they had made a $23 million down payment, in order to qualify for a $60 million loan
Loan
A loan is a type of debt. Like all debt instruments, a loan entails the redistribution of financial assets over time, between the lender and the borrower....

. Kidan received the same sentence as Abramoff — 5 years, 10 months — which he began serving at Fort Dix Federal Penetentiary, in Fort Dix, New Jersey
Fort Dix, New Jersey
JB MDL Dix , better known as Fort Dix, is a United States Army base located approximately south-southeast of Trenton, New Jersey. Dix is under the jurisdiction of the United States Army Reserve Command...

, on October 23, 2006. Ney also was implicated in helping to consummate the deal.

After the partners purchased SunCruz in September 2000, the business relationship with Boulis deteriorated, culminating in a fistfight between Kidan and Boulis in December 2000. In February 2001 Boulis was murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

ed in his car in a Mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

-style attack. The murder investigation, which presently includes three mobsters who had received payments from Kidan, is ongoing. Two of the suspects face the death penalty. SunCruz is now owned and operated by Oceans Casinos Cruises.

On March 29, 2006, Abramoff and Kidan were both sentenced in the SunCruz case to the minimum amount, 70 months, and to pay US$21.7 million in restitution. According to the "memorandum in aid of sentencing", the sentencing judge, U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck, received over 260 pleas for leniency from various people, including "rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s, military officers and even a professional hockey referee." The defendants are still cooperating with federal investigators and will be sentenced later in the Indian lobbying case.

Guam grand jury investigation



In 2002 Abramoff was retained under a secret contract by the Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

 Superior Court to lobby against a bill proposing to put the Superior Court under the authority of the Guam Supreme Court
State supreme court
In the United States, the state supreme court is the highest state court in the state court system ....

. On November 18, 2002, a grand jury
Grand jury
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing...

 issued a subpoena
Subpoena
A subpoena is a writ by a government agency, most often a court, that has authority to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. There are two common types of subpoena:...

 demanding that the administrator of the Guam Superior Court release all records relating to the contract. On November 19, 2002, U.S. Attorney
United States Attorney
United States Attorneys represent the United States federal government in United States district court and United States court of appeals. There are 93 U.S. Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands...

 Frederick A. Black, the chief prosecutor for Guam and the instigator of the indictment, was unexpectedly demoted and removed from the office he had held since 1991. The federal grand jury investigation was quickly wound down and took no further action. In 2005 Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks initiated a new investigation of the Abramoff contract, which is continuing.

In 2006 California attorney and Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 lobbyist Howard Hills, and Tony Sanchez, a former administrator of the Guam Superior Court, were indicted for unlawful influence, conspiracy for unlawful influence, theft of property held in trust, and official misconduct for allegedly authorizing 36 payments of $9,000 visa vis a pre-existing contract between Hills and the Guam Superior Court, each written out to Hills, but funneled to Abramoff. Hills, trusting Sanchez as a court official at face value, assumed that this was a temporary circumstance and agreed to help facilitate transition for what he thought was a standard government contract between Abramoff and the court. For this Hills received no compensation. Before indictments or investigations were initiated, Hills halted his temporary contract with Abramoff and reported what he thought was potentially suspicious behavior to public officials when it occurred to him that something may be wrong. In 2007, superseding indictments were issued against Hills and Sanchez, and in 2008 further related indictments were handed down against Abramoff and Abramoff's firm at the time, Greenberg Traurig. The charges against both attorney Howard Hills and Greenberg Traurig have since been dismissed.

Incarceration and recent life


On November 15, 2006, Abramoff began serving his term in the minimum security
Minimum Security
Minimum Security is a comic strip written and illustrated by Stephanie McMillan. It began in 1999, appearing in several alternative weeklies...

 prison camp of Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland
Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland
Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland in Cumberland, Maryland is a federal prison that houses medium security male offenders. The FCI has an adjacent minimum security satellite camp that houses male offenders....

, Maryland, as inmate number 27593-112. The Justice Department
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 requested that he serve his sentence there so as to be accessible to agents in Washington for cooperation as the investigations related to his associates intensify.

On June 8, 2010, Abramoff was transferred to a halfway house
Halfway house
The purpose of a halfway house, also called a recovery house or sober house, is generally to allow people to begin the process of reintegration with society, while still providing monitoring and support; this is generally believed to reduce the risk of recidivism or relapse when compared to a...

 in Baltimore, Maryland where he was employed by kosher pizza firm Tov Pizza, earning between $7.50 and $10.00 per hour.

He was released from the halfway house on December 3, 2010. On December 13, 2010, it was reported that Abramoff finished working at Tov Pizza.

See also

  • :Category:Jack Abramoff scandals
  • Jack Abramoff timeline
    Jack Abramoff timeline
    - 1980s :* 1981 - Elected Chairman of the College Republican National Committee in a campaign managed by Grover Norquist, the executive director of the CRNC.* 1981 - recruits Ralph Reed as an unpaid intern for CNRC....

  • List of trips funded by Jack Abramoff
  • Lobbying in the United States
    Lobbying in the United States
    Lobbying in the United States targets the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and state legislatures. Lobbyists may also represent their clients' or organizations' interests in dealings with federal, state, or local executive branch agencies or the courts. Lobby...

  • Norman Hsu
    Norman Hsu
    Norman Yung Yuen Hsu , born October 1951, is a convicted pyramid investment promoter who associated himself with the apparel industry. His business activities were intertwined with his role as a major fundraiser for the Democratic Party, and he gained notoriety after suspicious patterns of bundled...

  • List of federal political scandals in the United States

Cited notes and references



Uncited references


External links



Research/media