They both take money for a favor
George Bennet has his weekly politics column in today's Palm Beach Post. What we learn is troubling but not surprising, Knucklehead lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates made donations to local politicians. Both Democrats and Republicans took money including a past knucklehead winner. Why does Abramoff's donations not surprise me?
I have always joked that Politics was the second oldest profession only to prostitution. The title of my post is what both have in common.
Open Post- Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Committees of Correspondence, Land of Ozz,
The trail of campaign contributions linked to disgraced Washington power lobbyist Jack Abramoff doesn't end on Capitol Hill. The inevitable South Florida connection to the latest national brouhaha comes via SunCruz Casinos, the fleet of gambling boats owned briefly by a group that included Abramoff and New York businessman Adam Kidan.
Abramoff and Kidan have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud stemming from the 2000 financing of the SunCruz purchase. While they steered SunCruz in 2000 and 2001, the biz contributed to the campaigns of several Florida lawmakers, including local state Sens. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, and Mandy Dawson, D-Fort Lauderdale.
Klein's state Senate campaign got separate $500 checks on Feb. 27, 2001, from SunCruz, Kidan, a minor SunCruz partner named Ben Waldman and a business called JAB America. JAB America had the same Dania Beach address as SunCruz and listed Abramoff, Kidan and Waldman as officers.
"I didn't even realize who these people were at the time. They were just contributions that came in," said Klein, who's now running for Congress against U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Fort Lauderdale.
Klein said he never had any contact with SunCruz, Abramoff or any of Abramoff's associates.
Klein shut down his state Senate campaign and gave away leftover money long ago. But "to set a good example," he said he'll make a personal donation to a hurricane-relief charity equaling the Abramoff-related contributions.
Dawson got $500 checks from SunCruz, JAB America, Kidan and Waldman six days after the quartet gave to Klein. She said she remembers SunCruz money coming to her campaign, but said she never had contact with any of the donors. She doesn't plan any reparation gestures, noting she already gave surplus campaign money to charities.
SunCruz, JAB America, Kidan and Waldman also gave $500 campaign checks in 2001 to state Sen. Steve Geller, D-Hallandale Beach. The same group, minus Kidan, gave $500 apiece in 2001 to the Senate campaigns of former state Rep. Debby Sanderson, R-Fort Lauderdale, former Broward Democratic state Sen. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who's now a member of Congress, and state Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa.