What Jack Abramoff Forgot To Tell '60 Minutes': The Grover Norquist And Rick Santorum Connection!
Casino Jack Abramoff And His Friends, Grover Norquist and Rick Santorum!
Casino Jack Abramoff's interview on '60 Minutes' delved into the seedy side of lobbyists in Washington, D.C., but he failed to talk about two of his very best friends who are currently still major players on the national political scene. Grover Norquist, self-appointed disciplinarian and head of the Republican party and director of Americans For Tax Prosperity, not only still plays the lobbying game, he has managed to use his power to garner over 1100 signatures to what he calls, "The Taxpayer Pledge".
Almost every elected Republican member of Congress, as well as the current GOP candidates for President have signed Grover's Pledge to never, ever, ever, ever raise taxes. John Boehner, Speaker of the House, just recently referred to Norquist as "some random person". Random person? When was the last time you saw some "random person" coerce an oath of allegiance from almost all GOP members of Congress? I am a random person and I am unable to get a phone call from my Congressman, much less his signature on an oath. Funny thing about Boehner's remark...Boehner has signed Norquist's Random Person Oath...
While Norquist's history with Jack Abramoff is complicated, the two have been best of friends since the early days. BFF's for years! Norquist managed Abramoff's early campaign to become chairman of the College Republican National Committee and Norquist was directly implicated in the funneling of money for Abramoff during the Native American Indian gambling scandal that sent Abramoff and dozens of others to prison. While Norquist did not go to prison, he was accused of laundering money for Abramoff through Americans For Tax Prosperity .
During Abramoff's interview, he stated that things have not changed in Washington. Lobbyists are thriving and Congress is still participating in 'pay to play'. Abramoff went further to say that he feels guilty about the things he did. Maybe if he feels so guilty, he will tell the whole truth and expose those who helped him and those he knows who are still buying influence with elected officials. One of those he exposes would have to be Grover Norquist!
During the '60 Minutes' interview, Abramoff touched on "K Street" and the scandal that occurred, What he did not touch on was ALL of the people who were actively involved in the scandal. While the K Street Project Lobbying scandal had Norquist's name all over it, it also had the name of current GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum listed. Abramoff conveniently failed to mention that Santorum was a very willing and active participant.
After the elections of 1994 in which the GOP overwhelmingly took control of Congress, Abramoff and his buddies, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist, along with Tom Delay, pressured lobbying firms to hire key Republican party members and Congressional staffers. They also designed spread sheets and dossiers, showing political contributions; then using those dossiers, bartered access to elected members of Congress. The more money donated, the more access. The less money, the less access. The 'pay to play' game was illegal. Tom Delay went to prison, Abramoff went to prison, Reed barely escaped prison and Norquist came away again unscathed. Reed, once disgraced, has since come back as the head and founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is eerily similar in its goals to every other conservative organization. Ever notice that these slicksters always incorporate Faith (Christian values) and Freedom (an American value) to further their profits and their influence?
As a part of the K Street scheme, Rick Santorum was, by almost all accounts, the Senate liason who met with the lobbyists every week and 'scheduled' access to his Senate colleagues in the 'pay to play' scandal. Today, Presidential candidate Santorum has not been pressed to answer questions about his involvement in this scandal, but he does continue to say he is a fighter for Christian values. Someone should do a little bit of research and inquire if participation in what amounts to bribery, fraud and 'pay to play' politics is a Christian value.
Will Abramoff Keep Sacred The 11th Commandment?
Ronald Reagan issued the 11th Commandment to his fellow Republicans during his run for Governor of the state of California in the 1966 campaign. It is simply: Thou shalt not speak ill of any other Republican.
Abramoff, during his '60 Minutes' interview did not seem sincerely apologetic for his crimes. He seemed to be more apologetic that he got caught. He has spent time in prison, but his buddies, Grover Norquist and Rick Santorum are still in the spotlight, still profiting. Maybe Abramoff would like to share some of that spotlight. By detailing the involvement of his BFF's, he could certainly regain some credibility and help to shine a light on the past and current evils and corruption of Washington politics, but then again, Abramoff is 'old school' Republican. He believes in that 11th Commandment. He may not believe in God's commandment about stealing; he has certainly demonstrated that, but his interview demonstrated that he is not willing to break Reagan's commandment. Too bad!