Could Jack Abramoff Torpedo Newt’s Candidacy?
by Anthony Martin – Conservative Examiner
Jack Abramoff, the political lobbyist who went to prison in 2006 for bribery, is making his rounds on the TV and radio circuit now that he is a free man. And he is spilling the beans on his own dubious activity and those he got to know as part of his work in the years leading up to his imprisonment.
The Houston Chronicle reports that this morning Abramoff appeared in a interview on a radio station in Denver, during which he claimed that Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is ‘crooked, arrogant, and untrustworthy.’ Abramoff is promoting his new book, Capital Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption from America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist, and will appear as a guest tomorrow morning, December 3, on radio station WFHT AM 1360 in Orlando-Avon Park, Florida, at 11 AM ET. Those outside the station’s listening area can hear the show on the Internet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As ‘America’s most notorious lobbyist,’ Abramoff had access to the most powerful people in Washington, including former President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who was forced to resign his position due to the scandal that erupted around Abramoff in 2004. Delay later resigned from his seat the House and was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy in 2010.
Although he is quick to point the finger at major political figures and other lobbyists whom he claims are rotten to the core, Abramoff maintains that such things are not unusual in Washington. In fact, he says, this is how business is done. The entire political structure, he says, has been tainted by dirty money and back-room deals that involve both political Parties. This is why singling out figures such as Tom Delay while failing to include figures from the other Party is an exercise in hypocrisy.
Thus, Abramoff’s indictment of Newt Gingrich must be viewed within the broader context of the manner in which Washington goes about its business. These things are the norm and not the exception.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, for example, was a valuable ‘secret weapon’ in Abramoff’s activity due to the fact that he represents a gaming state and carries significant influence with ‘big money people.’ According to Abramoff, Reid intervened on at least 3 occasions on his behalf.
Thus, the question as to whether or not Abramoff could torpedo the candidacy of Newt Gingrich may not be as important as it seems on the surface. As long as individuals such as Harry Reid, Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, and others remain in Congress in spite of some of their own excess baggage, Abramoff’s indictment of Gingrich appears mild.
And so far it would appear that voters who are likely to participate in Republican primaries have decided, at least at present, that Gingrich is their top choice–to the tune of 38%, which is significantly higher than former front runner Mitt Romney was able to muster at the height of his popularity.