Thursday, August 11, 2005

Republican Corruption Watch

Here in San Diego, we have Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham as a representative of the Republican Culture of Corruption. But, the Duke has a long way to go before he joins the big leagues of Republican corruption, the Tom Delay level of absolute, souless self-serving arrogance.

In a day filled with revelations of Republican corruption, the most serious was the indictment of Tom Delay money man and golf partner, Jack Abramoff. Bloomberg reports on what my be the first of many indictments that Abramoff faces in the next few months.

"The six-count indictment alleges that Abramoff and partner Adam Kidan used a fake $23 million wire transfer and gave false information about their assets and debts to obtain $60 million from lenders to buy a cruise line, SunCruz Casino Ltd., in 2000.

The charges add to the scrutiny that Abramoff, 46, is already facing in
Washington for his work with casino-operating Indian tribes and his connections to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican. DeLay took a trip in 2000 to the U.K. that was billed to Abramoff's credit card, the Washington Post reported in May. House rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel from lobbyists."

Apparently, the Bush Adminstration was unable to protect Abramoff as they had done two years ago when Abramoff faced a grand jury probe over sweatshop related business dealings in
Guam. The LA Times covered that story.

"In Guam, investigators were looking into Abramoff's secret arrangement with Superior Court officials to lobby against a court reform bill then pending in Congress. The legislation, since approved, gave the Guam Supreme Court authority over the Superior Court.

In 2002, Abramoff was retained by the Superior Court in what was an unusual arrangement for a public agency. The Los Angeles Times reported in May that Abramoff was paid with a series of $9,000 checks funneled through a Laguna Beach, Calif., lawyer to disguise the lobbyist's role working for the Guam court. No separate contract was authorized for Abramoff's work.

Guam court officials have never explained the contractual arrangement. At the time, Abramoff was a well-known lobbying figure in the Pacific islands because of his work for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and Saipan garment manufacturers, accused of employing workers in what critics called sweatshop conditions."

Just as the probe of Abramoff kicked off, President Bush stepped in.

"The transactions were the target of a grand jury subpoena issued Nov. 18, 2002, according to a copy obtained by the Los Angeles Times. The subpoena demanded that Anthony Sanchez, then-administrative director of the Guam Superior Court, turn over all records involving the lobbying contract, including bills and payments.

A day later, the chief prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Frederick A. Black, who had launched the investigation, was demoted. A White House news release announced that Bush was replacing Black."

According to a detailed story at TPM Cafe, Tom Delay calls Abramoff one of his “closest and dearest friends.” The TPM Cafe article goes on to profile six key allies of both Delay and Abramoff. The six include lobbyists, Republican money men and the head of the Christian Coalition.

hese are the men running our country. They are a lawless bunch of thugs, who have been flying under the radar for the last decade. Maybe a few more indictments will shine so much light on them that even the mainstream media will have to take notice.