Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Abramoff : Double Edged Sword

This from today's New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 - Jack Abramoff pleaded 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.

Mr. Abramoff, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion, setting the stage for prosecutors to begin using him as a cooperating witness against his former business and political colleagues. In exchange, Mr. Abramoff faces a maximum of about 10 years in prison in the Washington case.

The conspiracy charge included Mr. Abramoff's effort to influence at least one member of Congress and a Congressional staff member.

Before the Democrats start doing their Tom Delay Victory Dance, it might be wise for them to consider that this man and his cronies have the potential to inflict significant damage on both sides of the aisle.

John in Carolina points to a June 3, 2005 Washington Post story that shines the light on some well known Democrats:

Abramoff didn't work just with Republicans. He oversaw a team of two dozen lobbyists at the law firm Greenberg Traurig that included many Democrats. Moreover, the campaign contributions that Abramoff directed from the tribes went to Democratic as well as Republican legislators.

Among the biggest beneficiaries were Capitol Hill's most powerful Democrats, including Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) and Harry M. Reid (Nev.), the top two Senate Democrats at the time, Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), then-leader of the House Democrats, and the two lawmakers in charge of raising funds for their Democratic colleagues in both chambers, according to a Washington Post study.

Reid succeeded Daschle as Democratic leader after Daschle lost his Senate seat last November.

Democrats are hoping to gain political advantage from federal and Senate investigations of Abramoff's activities and from the embattled lobbyist's former ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.). Yet, many Democratic lawmakers also benefited from Abramoff's political operation, a fact that could hinder the Democrats' efforts to turn the lobbyist's troubles into a winning partisan issue.

When all is said and done, Abramoff could very well end up taking down a good portion of the leadership on both sides of the aisle, along with a ton of lesser known staffers and several congressmen.

It's too early to tell exactly what the ultimate impact will be on both sides of the aisle, but rest assured this thing is going to get very messy and when it's over, both sides will wish they never heard the name Jack Abramoff.

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Others Blogging: Right Wing Nut House, Stop the ACLU, Michelle Malkin, Balloon Juice

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