The Roots Of The Aspen Trees Are Connected And Rotting Beneath The Ground
The Republican Party is scrambling, trying to distance itself from Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay in order avoid the label “Party of Corruption” which is exactly why Democrats should use the phrase every time they open their mouths. This is a Republican problem and any attempt to cloud that fact must be jumped on immediately and dismissed as pure rubbish. Let’s make them the butt of the joke, they deserve it after all, and laugh out loud as they attempt to keep their members out of the widening net that will ensnare dozens of lawmakers in what is clearly widespread political corruption.
But this is bigger than just one scandal. Jack Abramoff is merely a symptom, not the problem. Republicans have set up a system in Washington that makes them the only game it town. With the K Street Project, they have ensured that anyone who wants access to government, has to go through the Republican Party first, and apparently that access must be purchased. So much for government by and of the people, an idea as quaint as the Geneva Conventions to today’s Republican Party.
Two Republican Congressmen from California are taking some heat for official actions taken on behalf of a DeLay crony and major donor to the Republican Party. Rep. John Doolittle and Rep. Richard Pombo entered into the Congressional record evidence being used by the FDIC in a case against Charles Hurwitz, a Texas billionaire. This angered the FDIC lawyers and damaged their case against Hurwitz who they were attempting to hold accountable for the collapse of his savings and loan that left taxpayers on the hook for $1.6 billion. This is just one more example of how Republicans used their power to protect their rich friends and screw the American people.
No matter how they try to spin it, the Abramoff case is not a tale of a few Congressmen tempted by an evil lobbyist into abusing their positions of power, it is about a culture of corruption fostered by the Republican Party leadership, using their members to do favors for the rich and powerful in exchange for campaign contributions that were spread around to all. It may be business as usual with Republicans in control, but as many are about to find out, that doesn’t make it legal and it won’t keep them out of jail. Just ask Duke Cunningham.
The big question in all of this is how far it will go. Rep. Bob Ney, Republican from Ohio, appears next to be indicted. But in addition to his potentially illegal activity in his dealings with Abramoff, he may very well be the key to uncovering at least some of the fraud that took place in Ohio during the 2004 election. It is clear that Ney is an integral part of the “pay to play” system of governance set up by the Republican Party and there's no telling how far he was willing to go to ensure a continuing Republican stranglehold on power. The key to finding out exactly what went wrong in Ohio, is finding a concrete connection between Bob Ney and Tom “Coingate” Noe. Who knows what investigators will stumble upon as they work their way through these cases, but following the twisted web of Abramoff money that surely passed through Rep. Ney’s hands may unintentionally lead them to evidence of foul play in the 2004 election.
Tom Noe is a shady character and he has been indicted on charges stemming from his apparent embezzlement of money from the Ohio State Workers’ Compensation fund that then made its way into the Bush/Cheney campaign coffers as well as into his own pocket. As if that wasn’t enough, his wife Bernadette Noe, sat on the Lucas County Board of Elections in 2004. Anyone who thinks this fact is not cause for concern hasn’t been paying attention. Lucas County was riddled with problems on Election Day and was the site of curious and illegal activity during the tabulating of votes as well as with the sham recount that took place after, and Bernadette Noe was at the center of the action. Whether the Noes were working on their own, as unconnected rogue Republican crooks, or as part of an organized effort to defraud Ohio voters in order to hand the election to Bush/Cheney, remains to be seen. Bob Ney, in an effort to save his own skin ala Jack “how many Congressmen do you want” Abramoff and Duke “sure I’ll wear a wire” Cunningham, may provide the necessary facts to uncover at least a small corner of the truth. Here’s to hoping.