Democrats have tried painting Jack Abramoff’s sleazy and allegedly criminal lobbying efforts as a strictly Republican scandal for the last several months, tying Abramoff chiefly to Tom DeLay. However, as the investigation into Abramoff continues, more and more ties to Democrats have emerged, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Now it appears that the ranking Senate Democrat on the committee that has taken the lead in investigating Abramoff has more than a oversight connection to Abramoff himself:
New evidence is emerging that the top Democrat on the Senate committee currently investigating Jack Abramoff got political money arranged by the lobbyist back in 2002 shortly after the lawmaker took action favorable to Abramoff’s tribal clients.
A lawyer for the Louisiana Coushatta Indians told The Associated Press that Abramoff instructed the tribe to send $5,000 to Sen. Byron Dorgan (news, bio, voting record)’s political group just three weeks after the North Dakota Democrat urged fellow senators to fund a tribal school program Abramoff’s clients wanted to use.
The check was one of about five dozen the Coushattas listed in a tribal ledger as being issued on March 6, 2002, to various lawmakers’ campaigns and political causes at the instruction of Abramoff, tribal attorney Jimmy Fairchild said Monday.
So now Byron Dorgan is the fox in the henhouse, passing judgment on Abramoff after passing his checks along to the bank. Believe me, I’m delighted to see anyone crooked get his just desserts; as far as I’m concerned, men like Randy Cunningham should do a couple of tours at Club Fed if they use their positions of trust to sell out for bribes and kickbacks. Anyone who did so with Abramoff should bunk up with Cunningham at the first oppportunity. However, let’s quit pretending that Abramoff represents some sort of Republican “culture of corruption” and instead acknowledge that the sleaze has a much more ecumenical stench than the Democrats want to acknowledge. Otherwise, they’d be better served by keeping their mouths shut.