Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Congressman: Abramoff a 'good person'

Looks like we've got ourselves a double-feature for the Jack Abramoff Show! And today, we've got a special guest star for the show--GOP Representative Dana Rohrabacher. This is from CNN.Com:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher came to the defense of disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff on Monday, saying he's a good person who has been unjustly criticized.

"They're portraying Jack as a monster. I see him more as a good person who's done bad things and has to be punished for doing bad things," Rohrabacher, a California Republican and longtime friend of Abramoff, said in a phone interview.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, right, says former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has "received a lot of unjust criticism." From CNN.Com

"I think that he obviously has done some things that are wrong and illegal and he's going to have to pay the price for it," Rohrabacher said. "I think that a lot of other things that have been characterized as corruption on the part of Abramoff are actually standard operating procedures for lobbying in Washington, D.C. -- arranging trips and things like that.

"So I think that he's received a lot of unjust criticism."

It is nice to hear that Dana is standing up to his good friend and buddy, ubber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But Dana, before you start flapping your mouth about how much of a good person Abramoff is, you better make sure that you're not glowing neon green from the radioactivity of the scandal here. Consider this from the CNN.Com story:

Rohrabacher said he has not been contacted by prosecutors in the probe, and said Abramoff never tried to bribe him. Still, he said he's planning to return $3,000 in campaign cash he got from the ex-lobbyist, and he's also willing to return some $4,500 he got from Indian tribes that Abramoff represented, if the tribes want the money back.

So Rohrabacher also got some campaign cash from both Abramoff and the Indian casinos that Abramoff represented. I wonder what Rohrabacher's positions were--and especially any votes he made--regarding the Indian gambling interests? I haven't been able to find much information on that subject yet. Continuing on:

Rohrabacher visited the Northern Mariana Islands on a trip Abramoff arranged while representing the commonwealth, and the congressman's name has surfaced repeatedly in billing papers Abramoff and members of his then-firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, submitted to commonwealth officials in the last half of the 1990s. The Pacific islands' public auditors later questioned some of the charges.

Rohrabacher also dined at Abramoff's restaurant, Signatures, and agreed to be listed as a personal reference when Abramoff sought a $60 million loan to purchase a fleet of casino boats in Florida.

Hello? Rohrabacher also visited the Mariana Islands that Abramoff arranged? I'm sure that he and good buddy Tom DeLay were having fun in the sand and surf there--along with helping the textile industries in the Marianas. I'm especially interested in learning more about Rohrabacher's name surfacing in the Preston Gates and Ellis billing papers--what did Rohrabcher do for Abramoff and Preston Gates and Ellis? And yes, it is also interesting that Rohrabacher used his name as a reference to Abramoff's SunCruz gambling boats--another interesting link here.

Dana, you better be careful of what you're saying here, because you don't know what Abramoff is singing to the feds about. Abramoff may have been a good friend of yours, but is he willing to lie to the feds in order to keep you out of this growing scandal--considering that Abramoff's going to be spending some time in jail for his actions. Abramoff has a choice--cooperate with the feds and spend less time in jail, or refuse and spend more time. And you can bet that the feds are looking at a number of congressmen--including yourself in this widening corruption probe. There's a lot of interesting links here between yourself and Abramoff--you can bet the feds are interested in them.

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