noembed noembed

Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Goes to Lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Yesterday he pled guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion.

Mr. Abramoff is totally to blame for his downfall. He felt the need to use money to influence policy in Washington. He was greedy for power and justice has rightfully caught up with him. Now the American public is going to find out how wide ranging this scandal is. Mr. Abramoff was good at bribing elected officials in both parties. I've given one Knucklehead award to someone connected to Abramoff and I suspect there will be many more in the year ahead.

For allowing his money to corrupt himself and others, Lobbyist Jack Abramoff is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Michelle Malkin has lots of links. A Blog for All thinks they should all be keelhauled(Not easy to do if you're Iowa Voice) and Stop the ACLU says a scumbag is a scumbug whether they are a Democrat or a Republican. Betsy, James Joyner and Kevin at Wizbang also are commenting.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Third World County, Bright & Early, TMH's Bacon Bits, Basil's Blog,

One of the nation's ultimate political insiders, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty to federal charges in Washington, D.C., Tuesday and is expected to do the same today in the SunCruz bank fraud case, clearing the way for him to testify in a widening bribery investigation on Capitol Hill.

"Words will not ever be able to express my sorrow for this," Abramoff, 46, told the judge after pleading guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

"I only hope that I can merit forgiveness from the Almighty and those I have wronged," Abramoff said.

According to the criminal complaint, between 1997 and 2004 Abramoff conspired to "corruptly give, offer and promise things of value, including money, meals and trips and entertainment, to public officials" in return for "official acts benefiting" him. The complaint does not, however, indicate how many of those officials Abramoff will discuss with prosecutors.

Two sources close to the Abramoff case said the bribery investigation is currently focusing on eight to 10 members of congress and about an equal number of their staff members. But that number could grow.

According to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, 210 current members of Congress (133 Republicans and 77 Democrats), including six from Florida, accepted money from Abramoff, the Dania Beach SunCruz gambling ships he briefly owned, or several Indian tribes the lobbyist represented since 1999. During that time, Abramoff funneled $4.4 million in political contributions to them.

Though many legislators weren't on Capitol Hill on Tuesday because of the holiday break, news of Abramoff's plea agreement was met with great concern among the staffers who remained, according to Larry Sabato, a political science professor who is also the director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"There's grim anticipation," Sabato said. "They knew this was going to happen; they realized this was only a matter of time. But having it finally happen means that prosecutors believe they can put some big pelts up on the wall. "

Sentencing guidelines call for Abramoff to serve between 9 1/2 and 11 years, though it's expected he'll receive significantly less time for cooperating. He also has to pay $26.7 million in restitution.

Meanwhile, a federal hearing is set today in Miami, where Abramoff will plead guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud in the SunCruz case, his attorney Neal Sonnett said. Guidelines call for Abramoff to receive between six and seven years incarceration, but Sonnett said he'll ask that the sentences run concurrently.

The SunCruz case centers on a $23 million payment that Abramoff and his partner, Adam Kidan, were required to make to the owner of SunCruz, Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, as a stipulation of obtaining $60 million in loans. Those loans were part of the deal to buy the SunCruz 10-ship fleet for $147.5 million five years ago. When the pair couldn't come up with the money, Boulis went along with a scheme to create a document stating Kidan and Abramoff paid him the $23 million when, in fact, Boulis agreed to accept promissory notes. The bank fraud was uncovered by authorities investigating the Feb. 6, 2001, ambush murder of Boulis.

Ultimately it was the SunCruz case and its potential 30-year jail sentence that prompted Kidan and Abramoff to agree to become cooperating witnesses.

And the case that has led authorities to investigate possible congressional bribery in the first place was prompted by allegations Abramoff and his partner overcharged, by millions, the Indian tribes that hired him to sponsor gambling legislation.

Between 2001 and 2004, according to the complaint, Abramoff persuaded tribes in Mississippi, Louisiana, Michigan and Texas who had hired him as a lobbyist to do business with two public relations companies that he and his former partner, Michael Scanlon, created. While he concealed his financial interest in the firms, the tribes paid almost $53 million in fees. Of that, more than $20 million was "kicked back" to Abramoff, according to the complaint.

Listed on BlogShares