Burning Down The House
Corruption has always been part of our political system- the money, access and power attainable through shady deals and pay-to-play schemes is often too enticing to resist. But the culture of corruption swept into Washington with the appointment of George W. Bush is a sight to behold. The tentacles of corruption have spread throughout the GOP and now that the bagman is under investigation, Republicans are running for cover.
Jack Abramoff is like a bad penny for the GOP and he keeps showing up in one investigation after another. He has already been indicted for crimes surrounding his purchase of SunCruz casino boats in which he claimed to have made a wire transfer of $23 million dollars as part of the purchase, but the transaction was fake and no money changed hands. Mr. Abramoff, it seems, was used to getting something for nothing (or something for an off the books something else). The owner of SunCruz, Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, died shortly thereafter when someone pumped three hollow point bullets into his chest while he was driving home. Coincidence? Possibly, but Boulis’s murder is still under investigation.
Then there is the grand jury investigation into Abramoff’s dealings with Indian gaming casinos. Money taken from Indian tribes as payment for lobbying efforts was apparently funneled to a myriad of right wing organizations including Gover Norquist's foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and Ralph Reed’s political consulting firm in Georgia. It is unclear at this point who will be implicated in this investigation but Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, Bob Ney and David Safavian are just a few of the Republican heavy-hitters who’s names have come up due to their close ties to Abramoff. DeLay and Safavian have both been indicted and Ney remains under investigation, as does Karl Rove, albeit for an unrelated potential crime. Another indicted GOP player is Tom Noe who bilked the Ohio State Workers Compensation fund out of millions and then allegedly funneled some of that money into the Bush/Cheney coffers. Noe’s wife got in on the action as well serving as Bush/Cheney campaign chairman while sitting on the election board of Lucas County during the fraud laden 2004 election. Bob Ney is under investigation for his part in this scheme and although it may not have direct ties to Abramoff, it does show that these dirty players can’t seem to stay out of bed with one another. So many political scandals, so little decency left.
With recent news that Michael Scanlon, a former aide to Tom DeLay and former partner of Jack Abramoff, will plead guilty and cooperate with the prosecution in the DeLay case, the truth may come out sooner than expected. Once the prosecutors in Austin are finished with him, they may send him to their colleagues in Florida who, no doubt have some questions for him regarding his dealings with Abramoff. Karl Rove, who is pre-occupied with his own legal battle with Special Council Patrick Fitzgerald, is desperately trying to hold on to power long enough to deliver the 2006 mid-term elections to the Republicans once again, but this news must have an already beleaguered Rove wondering if he can hold it together. Even the Machiavellian mastermind of the GOP’s rise to power may have too much on his plate this time.
The American public is not completely unaware of these seemingly disparate investigations, but most are not fully cognizant of the incestuous nature of the corruption. Once the full extent of Abramoff’s crimes is revealed, hopefully the connections will be made, of course hearing about it on the evening news is unlikely. The MSM see it as their job to report as little as possible on GOP wrongdoings and when they do, they make sure to frame it in such a way that gives the impression of a few bad apples, ignoring the fact that Congressional Republicans have been gorging themselves on this bad fruit for years. It is our job on the left to remind our fellow Americans that when you spend with someone, you are spending with everyone that person has ever spent with. They are all infected and it’s time to quarantine the whole lot of them and force-feed them their medicine before they infect the rest of our government.