Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bilbray and Abramoff

For those of us who live in the 50th congressional district, it is hard to find one piece of truth that has come out of the mouth of our carpetbagging congressman, Brian Bilbray. Bilbray remains under investigation by a grand jury for his lies under oath regarding his place(s) of residence. Bilbray lies that he represents the wishes of the people of the 50th district and then votes to allow oil exploration and drilling off the district's coast.

Perhaps Bilbray's biggest lie is about his relationship with convict felon, Jack Abramoff. Bilbray says he hardly knew Abramoff, yet in 1996 Bilbray and his wife took an all expenses Abramoff funded and led trip to the Marianas Islands. While in the Marianas, Bilbray did a little sight seeing, played a little golf and, apparently missed any clues to practices like forced labor and child prostitution. Of course, it was in an effort to keep those two grand Republican practices alive in the Marianas that led Abramoff to invite Bilbray along on the trip in the first place.

On his return for the Marianas, Bilbray become a staunch supported of the Abramoff position and even produced legislation to insure that, despite being a United States trust territory, exploited residents of the Marianas would not be subject to the protection of the Constitution.

Here is a timeline of Bilbray's sell out to Abramoff from the Democratic Underground:
Dec. 13, 1996 – Bilbray prepares to take a trip to the Marianas that will be illegally funded by Jack Abramoff, who at the time is NOT under contract to the Marianas government. Bilbray is warned by the House Committee on Conduct that a planned trip to the Marianas may only take place only if it is a government expense and not paid for by lobbyists. “He received the invitation from the governor of the islands, because the islands were struggling to come to grips with foreign guest workers who were giving birth to children while staying there and then claiming birthright citizenship for their children, Bilbray said. Before he went on the trip, he also requested that the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct give its approval for the trip, he said.

In a Dec. 13, 1996, letter to Bilbray, the committee approved his request ---- with qualifications.

"Assuming the Committee's understanding regarding payment of the costs of the trip is correct, you may participate in the trip under this provision," the letter stated.”

Despite the warning, Bilbray goes on the trip either knowing Abramoff paid for it--or not checking exactly who was paying the enormous bill.

1996 – For New Year’s Eve, Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray flies to the Marianas and back in the same plane as Jack Abramoff, along with gang member Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA), John Duncan (R-TN) and their wives. Abramoff invoices show that he paid for the trip, over $10,000 per Congressional couple. Once there, after a perfunctory sweatshop tour, it was golf, fun in the sun, and more golf (and who knows what else). All three Congressmen agreed that the Marianas were a “little experiment” in capitalism, from which Washington could learn a lot. Bilbray tells his Marianas audience “You’re the cutting edge, socially and economically…” He said the Marianas has a very “progressive approach to immigration issues. The Northern Marianas has a lot of answers for the rest of the American family.”

“Abramoff billed numerous trips to his personal credit card or the firm, the records state, and then pressed the islands to reimburse him to avoid violating the new ban on lobbyists giving gifts to House members”. - April 28, 2005 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

1997 – Bilbray does not disclose the Marianas trip on his financial disclosure forms as required, saying later he thought the Marianas government paid for the journey, making it a US government expense. After the Republican trip, the Marianas government re-hires Preston Gates and reimburses Abramoff for the plane and hotel bills.

1997 – Around 200 babies become US citizens per year in the Marianas, complicating matters for the crooked sweatshop owners and their partners in crime at Marianas immigration, who always threaten non-citizen workers in numerous ways. Bilbray writes a bill attempting to limit the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, so that babies born on US soil in the Marianas can become US citizens only if at least one of their parents is a US citizen—and only for the Marianas!

October 1997 – Bilbray, Rohrbacher, Royce and Duncan hold luncheon for Marianas Governor Tenorio to fight against Clinton’s attempt to repeal the islands’ “Made in USA” label status and take away local immigration authority unless reforms were made on the sweatshop, forced prostitution and forced abortion issues.

1997 – Led by Tom Delay, Bilbray and The Abramoff Gang in Congress votes against bill requiring Marianas sweatshop owners to raise the minimum wage past $3.05.
Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Brian Bilbray, two corrupt Republican liars. When will Republicans in the 50th district figure out that they are being played for suckers by their own party. Cunningham and Bilbray's job isn't to represent the 50th district, it is to support the lobbyists like Jack Abramoff, whose money is the life-blood of the Republican Party.