Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Tremors across Washington

Well, the A-Bomb has finally exploded.

Orthodox-Jewish lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a man with tight ties to a raft of professionally pious Republicans, pleaded guilty yesterday to three felony counts setting the stage for the biggest congressional scandal since 1996 when the Republicans took over Congress pledging to practice clean and honest government.

As part of his guilty plea, Abramoff has agreed to tell prosecutors how he used lobbying fees to lavish expensive meals and vacations on congressmen in return for help passing and blocking legislation. Already we have learned how Abramoff, manipulated a trinity of fine Christian men to do his bidding: the Christian Coalition's former executive director, Ralph Reed, the Traditional Values Coalition's Rev. Louis Sheldon and James Dobson of Focus on the Family were all recruited to help Abramoff's casino and lottery clients, and though all three are vocal opponents of gambling, all three complied. Who knows what facinating facts Jack might share in 2006 about other frauds like Daniel Lapin and Tom Delay, his Best Friend Forever? The mind reels and the tounge salivates.

Other notes:
* I'm proud that not one Democrat has made anything of the fact that Jack is a Jew. In other times and other places the corruption of one Jew was used to implicate us all. One of the glories of America is that this doesn't happen here.

* This is not an equal opportunity scandal, no matter what GOP apologists might say: "Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show." [Bloomberg] [Edit: The Bloomberg quote refers to Abramoff's personal and family contributions. Many of his clients and lobbyists contributed to both Dems and GOPers, but Jack Abromoff himself gave nothing to Democrats between 2001 and 2004.]

* What does halacha say about lobbying? In the Perfect Jewish State will they be tolerated? Will fast talkers and big spenders like Jack Abramoff be permitted by Jewish law to hold sway over Jewish kings? I fear the answer is yes though, admittadly, this area of halacha is not well developed. Chazal never anticipated K Street.