Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Abramoff Pleads Guilty

He’s singing a sordid tale of bribery and corruption.

Jack Abramoff will plead guilty to three felony counts in Washington today as part of a settlement with federal prosecutors, ending an intense, months-long negotiation over whether the Republican lobbyist would testify against his former colleagues, people involved with the case said.


Official Washington has been on edge for months awaiting word of Mr. Abramoff’s legal future. Once a masterful Republican lobbyist with close ties to the former House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, he earned tens of millions of dollars representing Indian casino interests and farflung entities like the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Through a complicated web of financial arrangements, he helped funnel donations to his lawmaker friends’ and their campaigns, and took members of Congress, mainly the Republicans in power, on lavish trips.

Now, after more than two years of investigations, prosecutors have developed a list of at least a dozen lawmakers, congressional aides and lobbyists whose work appears suspect and who are now at the core of the case. With Mr. Abramoff’s cooperation, the Justice Department will have a potentially critical witness to alleged patterns of corruption or bribery within the Republican leadership ranks, which in some cases they believe also took the form of campaign donations and free meals at Mr. Abramoff’s downtown restaurant, Signatures.

Aside from the passionate and tearful speeches we’re going to be entertained with as the named names tell their stories and spin their yarns, the fun stuff will watching be the RNC talking points that come spitting about “one bad apple”, “It’s done all the time,” and “Democrats did it too.” The capper will be when they blame it on the climate of corruption and immorality left behind from the Clinton administration.