Now that the corruption scandal has fully metathesized, the GOP spin machine is busy with the talking points, acting as if everything is just fine and there isn’t actually a problem with the GOP. Here is my counter-point by point.
Spin 1: The problem isn’t that bad.
With that, Abramoff turned states’ evidence. He completed his two-year transformation from Republican golden boy, congressional gatekeeper and millionaire glad-hander to disgraced snitch, a man positioned to bring down the political machine he helped create. As part of his guilty plea, Abramoff faces a recommended prison sentence of between nine and 11 years. He will likely pay at least $25 million in restitution, and another $1.7 million in back taxes.
“Mr. Abramoff says he has information that could implicate 60 lawmakers,” the WSJ reports.
From Think Progress
Counterpoint: Abramoff took a deal where he will have to pay back $25 million and then spend almost a decade in jail. That is the deal he worked out for full cooperation with the prosecution. It also involved 60 lawmakers. That is over 10% of total number of members of the House plus Senate. If that isn’t bad, what would be?
Spin 2: Abramoff isn’t a Republican
Since watching the news last night and this morning, I’ve heard Jack Abramoff referred to as a “Republican lobbyist” countless times.
This is a blatant attempt to attribute his corruption to the GOP.
Lobbyists are not partisan: they whore themselves out to any politician, regardless of party affiliation.
As noagenda.org and gopbloggers.org point out, Abramoff is not solely a “Republican lobbyist”, but is linked to many Dems as well.
Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the U.S. to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats.
Counterpoint: Abramoff was a Bush Pioneer. If that doesn’t make you a Republican, what does? Second, he only gave money to Republicans.
Abramoff raised at least $100,000 for President Bush’s 2004 re-election effort, earning the honorary title “pioneer” from the campaign. It was unclear how much exactly the campaign would be giving to charity since McClellan referred questions about the matter to the
Republican National Committee, which did not immediately return phone calls about it.
Spin 3: This is a bi-partisan problem.
For the record, here’s a list of everybody Abramoff gave hard money to in 2002 and 2004:
From apshort blog
Notice a lack of dems? I did.
Abramoff has reportedly agreed to testify against several members of Congress who received favors from him or his clients. Over the past several weeks, the Justice Department has been debriefing him and combing through thousands of e-mails he kept (he was also a pack rat) from his most productive and illegal period. Investigators are reportedly focusing on as many as 20 lawmakers and aides. Like the Enron scandal and others, this one is likely to affect some who didn’t do anything illegal but were associated with the discredited and vulgar lobbyist.
Counterpoint: On that list, a single Democrat is listed, Senator Byron Dorgan. So if 8 Republicans to one Democrat counts as bi-partisan then by all means, call it as such. Call it copped liver if you wish. That doesn’t change the fact that this problem is a GOP problem. While it is true that some of his clients gave to Democrats, he is the one on trial, not them. Second, the issue isn’t who he donated money to, but who he bribed. So even if you can produce a list of democrats that have accepted money from Abramoff connected sources, it still isn’t a Democratic problem.
With that said, the GOP doesn’t have a monopoly on corruption. This whole mess makes me think that power; whether political, financial or even social; is like radiation. Prolonged exposure somehow warps your genetic makeup.