And what Valerie Plame was to hitting the GOP in the White House, Jack Abramoff is to entire GOP power structure directly outside the White House, House of Reps, Senate & Cabinet officials
And according to a story that hit this morning, Abramoff had some SERIOUS pull with this Administration, and at the heart of it all, was Abramoff's client in question the Northern Marianas Islands
What this means is that Abramoff's high-powered status is going to do even more damage to the GOP than thought previously, way too much clout here to just wink off
Abramoff was also a top fund-raiser for President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election, bringing in at least $100,000.
The U.S. Justice Department never acted on a post-Sept. 11 proposal, contested by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, calling for increased federal control over immigration to the Mariana Islands.
The agency reassigned the two officials who produced a 34- page report that contained the proposal, and House members of both parties who oversee the Homeland Security and Justice departments said they were never told about it. The 2002 report, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News, warns that continued local control over the Marianas' borders will ``seriously jeopardize the national security'' of the U.S.
Abramoff, whose law firm was paid $3.5 million by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory, to lobby between 1998 and 2002, tried to block the report, according to an e-mail released this month by House Democrats.
This is absolutely unreal-Abramoff has enough pull to delay a report that was ordered distributed to High ranking Representatives in both parties, and then apparently can get US Prosecutors reassigned if they're too vigilant regarding Abramoff or his clients & operatives
The report, dated May 6, 2002, was prepared by Robert Meissner, then a regional security specialist for the Justice Department, at the request of Frederick Black, who at the time was the acting United States attorney for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Meissner had jurisdiction over security issues for the commonwealth.
Both men were subsequently transferred to lesser positions. Black is now an assistant U.S. attorney in the Marianas, and Meissner was reassigned from his job reviewing security for the commonwealth and 10 other U.S. attorney's offices and now works in the U.S. attorney's office in northern Virginia. Black and Meissner declined to comment.
Besides his more well known exploits concerning the transfer of HUGE sums of Indian tribal casino gambling revenues into his pockets & those of his fellow operatives & lobbyists, it's the relationship with Factory owners on the Northern Marianas Islands that shows Abramoff at his most ruthless, efficient and powerful, as the pressure he's brought to bear in Congress has killed off numerous attempts to strengthen labor, workplace safety & environmental laws
And this missing report contains red-meat that will infuriate much of his harsher, extremist base, dovetailing two President Jr's most sore points, Immigration & National Security
From Abramoff's perspective, tightening up security & immigration is something he puts a very selfish spin on-I mean astonishingly selfish in that disorienting "up is down" kind of logical thinking, behavior with so many blindingly hypocritical faults & flaws one is almost overwhelmed by the very depth of corruption that emboldened so many of Abramoff's actions
Under a 1976 covenant between the commonwealth and the U.S., immigration laws don't apply to the Marianas ``except in the manner and to the extent made applicable to them by the Congress.''
Abramoff lobbied against efforts to tighten those laws. The islands have 28,717 foreign workers, compared with 6,006 natives, in the labor force, according to Central Intelligence Agency statistics.
Abramoff's outlook is pretty simple actually-if it doesn't enrich hjimself, or funnel movey to other groups & individuals who alll financailly reward each other at every possible opportunity, then it's a waste of time & idle speculation
Indeed, Abramoff fell victim to the same desire to put self ahead of country that Rove & Libby did when they outed valerie Plame, with the main difference being that Abramoff is going for the money while Rove & Libby went for the payback
And in that vein, Abramoff clearly viewed the US DoJ as subordinate to the GOP's political will & cash dispensary, an organization that could only disrupt-even temporarily-the nonstop funding of Abramoff by the Northern Marianas Islands Factory owners, and this is where the selfishness becomes almost overwhelming
In an Oct, 1, 2001, e-mail to the Marianas government, Abramoff said he was alerted to the pending immigration report by the Justice Department chief of staff, whom he hosted in his luxury box at a Washington Redskins football game. He said he would pass on to the government any information he received from the official. At the time, David Ayres was chief of staff.
In the e-mail, Abramoff warned that some ``bad guys'' in Justice had been saying the commonwealth ``if not taken over, will be a major entry point for terrorists. This, of course, is patently ridiculous and we have been working to counter this.''
Notice that first sentence again
Abramoff's clout was such that this report warranted a "Heads Up" from the Justice Dept, by the Chief of Staff in a skybox during a pro football game
And it turns out Abramoff wasn't shy about letting others know about the major clout he wielded with various Bush Jr Adminstrative officials, including Agency heads
Abramoff said he would meet with then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. One of Abramoff's associates was Kevin Ring, who joined the firm after serving as counsel to a Judiciary subcommittee that Ashcroft chaired when he served in the U.S. Senate.
``We'll hope the higher ups will take some time to squash this on their own,'' Abramoff wrote.
And what's at risk here is the possibility of another attack reminiscent of Al-Qaeda's bombing of the USS Cole during a brief stopover in Yemen
It appears Abramoff not only had direct ties into the entier GOP apparatus, but also the ability to get direct meetings with the President himself
For example, Abramoff helped get the chief of the Coushatta invited to a meeting with President George W. Bush in early 2001, set up by Grover Norquist, once Abramoff's executive director at the College Republicans and now Washington's pre-eminent conservative lobbyist. It was suggested that a donation to Norquist's think tank, Americans for Tax Reform, might be appreciated. Abramoff pressed the Coushattas. The $25,000 check was sent to ATR.
There's so much to flesh out about Abramoff, but this is clearly NOT the twist the GOP needed to set it's political rudder solidly again
Those hearings on Nov 2 should be about a million times more interesting now
Oh yeah, as a nice wrap up
Government misses dozens of security deadlines since September 11
It's kind of hard not to come to the conclusion that Abramoff's lust for money was responsible for this Administration's shameful & shocking neglect in beefing up security as it relates to another possible terrorist attack of US military personnel on soil of a US protectorate
How many of those other missed deadlines had some kind of financial component to them, and how many people had the ability to stop delivery of a mandated report to the highest ranking Representatives in the House?
This is only going to get MUCH worse for the White House in particular-especially as Rove & Abramoff have ties involving past personnel as well-and the GOP Overall