Scandal 50: Jack Abramoff

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

In the year leading up to twenty twenty election. We're counting down the biggest scandals in American political history. This is number fifty the Jack Abramov scandal the next time. A stranger asks what you do for a living respond. I'm Washington lobbyist. Then count how many seconds it takes them to politely exit the conversation. Lobbying as the process of advocating to elected officials on behalf of an organization or interest group and it's perhaps the most universally despised line of work doc in the United States. That's at least partly because of one man Jack Abramov before he went to jail. Jack didn't think of himself as a symbol of Washington corruption. In fact he considered himself in his own words among the top. Moral people in the business. That's how distorted reality can get from the inside of a political scandal. Jack Abramov was buying votes. He was whining and dining congressman at his own restaurant which he opened for the sole purpose of entertaining elected officials. He was cheating his native American clients out of millions while secretly referring to them by racist epithets. And that's how immoral lobbyist operates. I'd hate to meet an immoral. When Jack Abramov finally answered for his crimes he took a House majority leader down with him and arguably swayed the results of two national elections? But that's not the most shocking thing about this story for that you'll have to wait until we tell you where convicted did fell in. Jack Abramov is now mm-hmm welcome to political scandals. A podcast original. I'm Richard and I'm kate you can find. All episodes is a political scandals and all other par- cast originals for free on spotify over. Ever you listen to podcasts to stream political scandals for free on spotify I just open the APP and type political scandals in the search bar at podcast. We are grateful for you our listeners. You allow us to do what we love love. Let us know how we're doing reach out on facebook and Instagram at par cast and twitter at podcast network. And if you enjoyed today's episode the the best way to help is to leave a five star review. Wherever you're listening it really does help? There's being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. And then there's Jack Abramov born on February twenty eighth nineteen fifty nine in Atlantic city. New Jersey Abramov grew up mostly in Beverly Hills. His father was a credit card executive and his mother was a homemaker at Beverly Hills. High School Abramov was both a football star and a weightlifting champion. He was also also a prize winning bully his high school classmate the late food critic. Jonathan Gold alleged Jack Abramov once pushed him and his cello down a flight of stairs. His parents were in particularly observant. Jews but Jack decided as a preteen to convert to to the more conservative traditional Orthodox Jewish tradition more conservative was Jack's motto for life as a young man growing growing up in the freewheeling nineteen seventies apparently only made him lean farther to the right in nineteen eighty. Jack was a junior ear. Studying English at Brandeis University and Ronald Reagan was a former actor running for president as chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance Handsome College. Republicans Jack volunteered for Reagan's campaign and organized other college students to do the same. After Reagan's landslide victory victory ushered in a new era of conservatism. In Nineteen eighty-one Jack was elected chairman of the College Republican National Committee. This wasn't your typical student government election. He had a full time campaign manager. Grover Norquist who would go on to be arguably America's most prominent anti taxation activists. Jack didn't run for chairman just to add a shiny new title to his resume. He had a plan by pushing the College Republicans. Farther to the right he believed he could. Pressure elected Republicans to remain accountable to conservatives. Right wing candidates would be able to count on the College Republicans to drum up public support while perceived centrists would be hung out to dry this. This was an early blueprint for his later. High pressure tactics as a lobbyist in addition to organizing support for Republican campaigns under Abramov leadership the college Republicans weighed in on foreign policy. They supported the invasion of Grenada and spoke out against what they called called. KGB propaganda criticizing. The apartheid government of South Africa remember. This was the height of the Cold War Americans Americans lived in fear of the USSR. Public schools held nuclear attack drills and built bomb shelters and nobody hated communists. It's more than Jack Abramov. He made it his personal mission to do whatever he could to destroy the Soviets in one thousand nine hundred eighty. Two Jack Doc headed off to law school at Georgetown in Washington DC in nineteen eighty four. He addressed the Republican National Convention. He might have been the brightest rising star in the entire Republican Party but after graduating with his JD in nineteen eighty-six instead of looking looking for public policy work or joining a campaign. He moved back home to Los Angeles and started a film. Production Company regency entertainment and he also founded think-tank the International Freedom Foundation or I F F extensively to oppose communism around the world after five years in DC. Jack had decided that the best way to help Ronald Reagan when the Cold War was by bringing his ideas to the big screen green liberal. Hollywood wouldn't know what hit them. Not only did Jack have the American way on his side. He had a secret weapon. The the embattled South African government was allegedly funneling money to him through his think tank the I F F. The way broom off did manage managed to fund and produce an anti-communist action film titled Red Scorpion. It wasn't exactly a hit after spending twice the original channel. Eight million dollar budget. The nineteen eighty nine film only earned a little more than four million dollars at the box office. It also drew sharp criticism for breaking the international boycott against South Africa by filming in one of its territories but for Jack the moral tradeoff was worth worth it he thought of communism as a massive existential threat to the world it was worth compromising any of his other values to fight it even after being accused in the media of supporting apartheid he kept taking South Africa's money to the tune of one point. Five million dollars is annually in exchange the International Freedom Foundation help. The South African government portray anti-apartheid activists like Nelson Mandela Bella as terrorists. This was Jack's first real taste of the dark side of political influence. He recruited Republican licken politicians to join and support the I F F without telling them where it's funding came from then. He successfully pressured those same officials to oppose economic sanctions against South Africa. Jack would later claim he had no idea. South Africa was funding funding. His think tank but experts say there is no way he could have been in the dark about where his own organizations money came from. It would have taken in a remarkably dim with an curious founder. Not to know where he was getting that one point five million dollars a year on December December thirty first nineteen ninety one the USSR formally ceased to exist. The Cold War was over leaving. Jack Abramov feeling victorious but directionless. The American people no longer in a panic about the Soviet threat elected Democrat Bill Clinton China's president in one thousand nine hundred ninety two that same year Nelson Mandela successfully pressured the South African government to stop funding adding the I F F deprived of cash. The think tanks shut down in Nineteen ninety-three Soon Regency Entertainment Group past its expiration date to Jack finally had to accept that his film career was dead in the water and his cause celebre was out of steam. He'd have to find some other purpose in life. Besides destroying communism so in Nineteen ninety-four Jack threw himself into the fight to restore Republicans to power in Washington for the first time. He put his Georgetown Law degree to use joining the high powered firm Preston Gates and Ellis as a lobbyist. They were excited about his already. Close relationships with Republican officials officials including congressman. Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich on November Eighth Nineteen Ninety Four for the first time in forty thirty years. The Republican Party gained control of both houses of Congress. They took down thirty four incumbents including the sitting speaker. You're of the House. Newt Gingrich took up the speaker's gavel and proceeded to slash taxes cut government spending and dismantle welfare programs rams his influence on nineteen ninety. Four's election was so significant it was called the Gingrich Revolution. This was all music to Jack. Abramov's ears his college Republican friends including Grover Norquist and far-right Evangelical Christian Ralph. Oh freed were suddenly among the most powerful thinkers in Washington. His friend Tom delay became house. Whip with the Soviet Union no longer serving as America's most prominent enemy atheism and liberalism became the villains of the day for conservatives elected officials holes were falling all over each other to tout their evangelical Bona Fides. They boasted about their desire to balance the federal budget but it behind closed doors. They demanded huge pork projects for their home districts into this Maelstrom of Hysteria Swagger Jack Abramov ready to make some money i. He'd need a new niche. He cast his eyes around Washington and saw no deep pockets. Doc It's desperately in need of a lobbyist but farther south in Mississippi. He found something promising. The Band of Choctaw a native of American tribe that could afford his costly services thanks to their tribally owned casinos to Republican. Congressman had proposed legislation tax native American Tribal Casinos Abramov swooped into Mississippi and signed the choctaw. 's As a client promising to do everything everything he could to keep their business tax exempt. We don't know exactly how much the Mississippi Choctaw paid Abram off in one thousand nine hundred ninety ninety five but it was enough to induce him to get Tom delay on their side. The majority whip opposed the bill to tax native American casinos even even though it was proposed by two members of his own party Jack Abramov had scored his first big victory as a Washington lobbyist in a perfect world. Lobbyists are like attorneys making a case in court they simply present lawmakers with information and make an argument for their position Dan successful lobbying by itself is neither a crime nor scandal. As long as they don't exchange something of value for an elected officials support that is buying votes is bribery and has been illegal for hundreds of years but in reality lobbyists are incentivized is to get lawmakers on their side no matter what it takes with millions of dollars on the line. Many lobbyists don't ask is. Is this the right thing to do or even is this legal. They ask. Will I get away with it and Jack was willing to bet he could get away with a whole heck of a lot. He showed little respect for the law ethics or even for his own clients. Abramov privately leased horrifying racial slurs to describe the native American tribes. He worked with in one e mail later made public he complained. I have to meet with the monkeys from the choctaw tribal council in another. He called native Americans troglodyte and morons but no matter how much he looked looked down on them. You couldn't deny that Jack Abramov got results for his clients at least at first before he got so greedy see that he threw them under the bus just to bilk them for even more money before he started joking about writing a book called the idiots guide to buying a congressman before he started cheating the tribes out of millions after after the break Abramov goes from effective but racist lobbyist to criminal and con artist and now back to the story in one thousand nine hundred ninety five high-dollar conservative lobbyist. Jack Abramov signed his first native American tribal client the Mississippi Band of choctaw. He was well on his way to being nicknamed Casino. Jack the go-to lobbyist for any tribe looking to protect their gambling interests interests and before John came along tribal casinos had essentially no lobbying presence in Washington after his success in defeating a nineteen nineteen ninety-five bill that would have taxed native American casino. Prophets Jack Abramov became a celebrity in the tribal gambling world. His his clients had no idea he privately. Called Natives troglodyte S- monkeys and morons in an interview with Washington business forward. Jack painted a very different picture of his views. He said lots of bad things have been served up to happen to the Indian tribes the role that we've we've played in helping them whether it's fighting efforts to tax them or other indignities that makes me feel good that was always how it was with Jack One person in public another in private. It was the same with his second big lobbying success this time for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands the C. N.. Am I located. North of Guam in the Pacific. Ocean is an American. MM protectorate inhabitants of the C. N. M. I R. US citizens under the jurisdiction of the president of the United States. But they can't vote vote in US federal elections and as a U. S. territory the CNN. Am I is a loud to mark goods manufactured there as has made in the USA. If you're thinking this sounds pretty attractive to unscrupulous companies. You're right in nineteen ninety five. Live when Jack Abramov I signed the CNN. M I as a client. The region was known as a hotbed for sweatshops. Not only were the islands exempted you did from. US minimum wage laws they didn't have to enforce. US immigration laws either meaning companies could easily set up. Factories import the cheapest Labor available and underpay them were still. Women lured to the islands with the promise of sweatshop jobs this were often sold into sexual slavery a few democratic legislators had an idea about changing. All this yes. They introduced a bill to take away the exemptions from minimum wage and immigration laws. That's where Jack came in to lobby against this measure Asher at the princely rate of one hundred thousand dollars per month again. There was one Jack in public and another in private the public. Jack said he was only fighting for freedom. He described the northern Marianas as a kind of libertarian utopia if the CNN my wanted to allow the free market to set the prevailing local wage they should be able to do it but in private he had a more practical approach to swaying weighing lawmakers tropical vacations. Abramov paid for lawmakers trips to the Marianas including Tom delay an in two key democratic congressman in the Pacific archipelago. The congressman could avail themselves of all an island nation with few laws house and even less law enforcement had to offer. Of course Jack made sure the American people could never find out. What exactly exactly was on the itinerary? Privacy was part of his stock in trade as a congressional travelagent but whatever delay and his Democratic Arctic colleagues enjoyed in the C M. I it was enough to convince them to preserve the Marianas exemptions from US minimum wage and immigration laws. Another other Big Win for Casino Jack and a success for his first outing as a junket planner. Over the next several years Jack Abramov only got richer and more powerful his stander lobbying rate increased from one hundred thousand to one hundred fifty thousand dollars dollars per month he signed five more native American tribes as clients firmly. Establishing himself as the GO-TO guy for tribal gaming interests I there were three Ki- offenses in the Abramov. Playbook pressure perks and pay. He got his Christian conservative of allies especially activist Ralph Reed to organize evangelical groups against whatever legislation Abramov wanted to defeat he he funded lavish vacations for lawmakers in the guise of fact finding missions he gave elected officials significant gifts including tickets to sporting events and concerts and he funneled his client's money directly into campaigns. If you're wondering why Ralph Reed would mobilize the Evangelical Community to protect native American casinos. The answer is simple money in nineteen ninety nine alone Jack. Abramov gave read over one million dollars of the choctaw tribes money to hide the transaction he had had his clients donate the money to Grover Norquist's advocacy group Americans for tax reform. They dutifully passed it along to read and in return read worked to defeat a bill that would have legalized gambling at dog racing tracks that choctaw casino avoided a new source of competition in the gambling. Market Ralph Reed lined his pockets and Jack Abramov earned millions that year every one one except of course American voters the more often this worked and it worked every time time the Boulder Jackpot in May of two thousand Jack Centers Pal. Tom delay to Scotland to hit the links at the world's oldest just golf course. The Saint Andrew's links in a blatant violation of house ethics rules. Jack used his own credit card to buy Tom's flight flight. Elected officials aren't supposed to accept gifts from lobbyists for obvious reasons. Even if there's a pre existing personal relationship at best accepting a gift like that looks improper and at worst of course it's bribery. Which is exactly what Jack himself self has admitted he was doing at the peak of his lobbying career? Abramov says he spent over a million dollars annually just on gifts for legislators their families and their staffers. That's not counting campaign cash while he was wining and dining and bribing Jack Doc was also working out how to invest in his own future at some point in two thousand. He heard of a fleet of gambling boats that were up for sale in partnership with businessman. Adam Redan he decided to buy the votes but instead of ponying up the twenty three million dollar down payment and for real the to investors presented a fake wire transfer to their bank as proof of funds the bank then agreed to lend them sixteen st million dollars to complete the deal. Jack was now a floating casino entrepreneur also in the year. Two Thousand Abramov was given the title of Pioneer by George W Bush's presidential campaign. Meaning he'd raised at least one hundred thousand dollars for the future president. A lot of that came in the form of large donations from Abramov himself as well as from his friends and family. Of course we all know what happened in that election Bush one and Jack Abramov was immediately appointed to his White House Transition Advisory Team. It's pretty pretty typical for transition teams to feature a lot of big donors and lobbyists patronage the practice of handing out a plum position in exchange for support. Short has been alive and well in the White House. Since the country's founding in addition to his new White House Position Jack kept right on wining and dining lawmakers Abramov would later estimate that during the Bush years he had a strong influence on about one hundred members of the US House of Representatives one of his best tactics for obtaining that influence. Go through a key. Staffer Abramov would identify identify someone. The legislator trusted then offer them a lucrative job. As a lobbyist anyone who accepted was immediately put to work influencing influencing their former boss speaking of bosses by two thousand one. Jack wasn't real fond of his boss. He was still working looking for Preston. Gates and Ellis Seattle based law firm. That gave him his first job. As a lobbyist he felt underappreciated for the vast revenues. Avenues he brought in. Were still one of the partners criticized his tactics telling him you're going to end up dead disgraced or in jail to state the obvious that partner was right. Maybe if Jack had listened he still could have changed in time to avoid prosecution instead he quit Preston Gates and joined another firm Greenberg traumatic he brought with him clients. Handsworth six million dollars in annual billings. The loss of Jack Abramov 'cause Preston Gates loving revenues to drop by Half Jack Doc was the ultimate big fish. The six million that walked in the door with him on day one was game changing by itself before two two thousand one was out Jack. Abramov had increased lobbying revenues Greenberg trowel rig by five hundred percent. The firm was growing going so fast. It jumped from the sixteenth largest lobbying firm in Washington to the fourth after his job change. Jack made a few more big big moves. To first he partnered up with Michael Scanlon. Tom delay's former press secretary. SCANLON had founded a lobbying firm of his own capitol campaign strategies. Jack and scanlon. Cut a deal which they called. GimMe Five Abramov would refer tribes to scanlon telling them they needed to hire a second lobbyist. SCANLON would charge the client for his services then cut Abramov in on the proceeds rinse and repeat for Abramov. This was all a side dish. Influence peddling was more fun for him than just filling his bank account. He spent much of his time working towards opening kosher Washington. DC restaurant where he could entertain legislators for instance his buddy Tom delay who in in two thousand and three was promoted to house majority leader even though the double billing scam wasn't Jack's primary focus. It yielded dividends immediately immediately. One of Abramov's tribal clients hired scanlan as an additional lobbyist to advance their interests. They had no idea Abramov. Would get a huge kickback. From the exorbitant fees. They paid to scanlon not to mention Abramov was still billing them directly for his own on services next Abramov lobbied in favor of a gambling ban in Texas. Hardly Casino Jack. Jack's usual kind of thing but as always he had an agenda his Louisiana clients didn't want the competition from the state next door and and his Texas clients the Tig Wa tribal nation. They had to close their casino. But Jack had a plan for that too while the bill was in the works. He offered the tig his lobbying services to oppose the ban. He'd helped to create when they signed on the dotted line. Abramov jetted jetted off to the golf course. In Scotland with Congressman Bob Ney. The goal was to get Bob to insert some sneaky language into a bill which would grant the Attila gambling rights despite the statewide casino ban. Jack's trip was unsuccessful but his clients pay through the nose for it anyway. Anyway a reasonable person might wonder if Jack felt bad about screwing over his own clients. The answer to that is a resounding no. Oh here's one two thousand two email exchange between Abramov and scanlon about the piguet tried Jack Abramov rights fire up the jet baby. We're going to El Paso Mike Scanlon. Replies simply I want all their money money was typed in all caps by the way all this wheeling and dealing was an incredible source of income. Abramov scanlon build a combined estimated sixty six million million dollars just to native American tribes sometimes as in the Tig Situation Abramov was billing both sides in an ongoing elling conflict. It was the perfect scam. The only problem was over. The Years Jackson aggressive tactics had made him as many enemies amies as friends and in two thousand and four. They launched a sneak attack. That Abramov never saw coming after the break. The House of cards falls and now back to the story by two thousand four Jack. Abramov was on top of the lobbying game in a way nobody had ever been. He was openly entertaining retaining a room. Full of legislators staffers and White House functionaries every night at his own. DC restaurants signatures. He had a reputation as is Congress's personal travel agent Flouting House ethics rules by putting legislators elaborate golf trips on his personal credit card he was also so bilking his own clients out of millions one tribe alone the Louisiana coup Shahdeh Paid Jack Abramov and his partner in gripped left. Michael Scanlon over thirty two million dollars in lobbying fees Abramov and scanlon worked together to convince clients to to pay them both for the same service then split the proceeds. When Jack Abramov was treating you lived large he? He didn't just send congressman in their families to sporting events he bought out huge blocks of VIP tickets and encourage them to invite their biggest. This donors from their home districts. Two dozen of them at a time and as for campaign donations he spread them around most went to prominent Republicans and but he gave to key Democrats too so did his clients under his direction. If you asked Jack Abramov it wasn't impressive. Impressive that he could influence one hundred votes in the house at any given time it was the three hundred thirty five votes. He hadn't bought that kept him up at night. But Jack showed have been losing sleep over a completely different group of people that DC press over the years check had an exactly taken pains to hide his outsized influence. A group of reporters were investigating allegations that native American tribes were paying Abramov and scanlon. Ten to twenty times more than other. Lobbyists were paid for similar services. On February twenty-second two thousand four. A front page Washington Post story revealed that the two men had raked in forty five million dollars in in counting from their tribal clients. Overcharging for your services isn't illegal fraud on the other hand is and it would be pretty hard to convince clients to pay you ten to twenty times the norm without committing some sort of fraud along the way the Senate Indian affairs. This committee smelled a big Fat Jack. Abramov sized wrap the moment post story ran within days. They began an investigation. Asian Abramov stock in trade was congressman not senators. He didn't have enough friends in the Senate to stop them from poking around. Still Hoping Ping things would blow over Jack. Abramov resigned from his lobbying firm. Greenberg trowel rig. He decided the best way to handle any. And all interrogation by the Indian Affairs Committee was to assert his fifth amendment privilege against self incrimination as the Indian Indian Affairs Committee bumped up against a brick wall named Jack Abramov. The Washington Post kept investigating. They got a hold of Jack's disparaging getting emails about his tribal clients and published excerpts. It was also post. Reporters discovered one big smoking gun. Jack's credit card which he used to pay for Tom delay's golf trip to Scotland. The House majority leader was now directly implicated in in what was becoming the biggest scandal in the history of lobbying in September of two thousand and four Jack was called before the Indian Affairs Committee and refused. Used to answer questions in November. Michael Scanlon did the same during his questioning. Finally after seven months of investigating the committee announced its conclusions scanlon and Abramov had built sixty six million dollars to six native American tribes news and they might have been bribing voters in tribal elections to ensure they kept getting their lobbying business. It wasn't immediately clear whether whether or not this was illegal. Unethical yes but it wasn't a crime unless that sixty six million was actually used to bribe government officials again. That's where the media comes in. By now Jack Abramov was just about the most hated man in America. The Washington Washington Post team was on its way to the Pulitzer Prize with their ongoing investigation. The reporting called attention to a previously overlooked aspect of the scandal. The deal in two thousand in which Abramov and a business partner bought a fleet of casino boats. The post was mostly interested in the two high profile names listed as references for the sixty million dollar loan a Tom delay Staffer and Republican Congressman Men Dana Rohrabacher but the reports drew prosecutors attention to the transaction. Remember Abramov and his partner Adam Ca. Dan had faked a twenty three million dollar wire transfer in order to make the bank think they already delivered down payment. In other words they'd committed needed a felony on August. Eleventh of two thousand five Abramov and could Dan were indicted on fraud. Charges Abramov Finke. Dan entered guilty pleas. It was pretty clear that Abramov wasn't going to get away with this one and the American people weren't going willing to be satisfied to see him go down for a fraudulent wire transfer. They wanted blood for his flagrant bribery. By now Abramov's friends were rushing to distance themselves pretending they'd never even met him in an interview. Abramov joked about such claims by former speaker of the house. Newt Gingrich has he showed a vanity fair reporter several photos of himself with Newt Abramov teased I. I have more pictures of him than I have. My wife nude again it sick. I thought he never met me as quickly as they rushed toward Abramov Mauve when he was waving VIP concert tickets and all expenses paid flights representatives. Staffers now ran as far and as fast fast as they could away from him. By the end of two thousand five twelve members of Congress announced they would return their campaign donations nations from Abramov and his associates. And yet for all the hype about Jack. It was Michael Scanlon. Who is charged with bribery? I on on November twenty. First two thousand five Abramov's former partner in crime entered a guilty plea in federal court. It's pretty typical for federal prosecutors to indict smaller fish before bigger ones. The idea is to set up. Exactly what happened. The lower level criminals cooperate rate with prosecutors in exchange for leniency. Their testimony then helps to convict the person the feds really want to nail to the wall or sometimes sometimes just knowing that their confederates have already flipped is enough to get a guilty plea from the big fish too. That's exactly how things worked doubt for Jack in January of two thousand six. He pled guilty to mail fraud. Conspiracy wire fraud and tax evasion. Asian with his e mails already leaked to the media. He could see his own handwriting on the wall. It's always taxes. Didn't anybody learn. Learn anything from Al Capone if you're going to steal or gripped find a way to pay taxes on the proceeds the IRS always gets their share air in the end after Jack copped his plea even more lawmakers were pressured to return his donations or give the money to charity. This second batch of elected officials included President George W Bush and House majority leader. Tom delay the ladder. In particular killer was under fire for his close relationship to Jack Abramov his luxury golf trip. On Jack Dime infuriated voters. George George W Bush tried to save the majority leader even making a public show of support by inviting him aboard Air Force One but the image age of delay boarding another fancy plane just reminded his constituents of all the flights Jack Abramov paid for in March of two thousand than six Jack. Abramov and Adam Ca. Dan were both sentenced to almost six years in prison. Both were allowed to stay out of jail. Temporarily rarely in exchange for their help with a broader investigation into congressional corruption with Abramov now on the side of federal prosecutors. Tom Delay's time was up in April. He resigned his seat in Congress. Delay was later tried and convicted of money laundering but the conviction was overturned on appeal even as a free man however he was damaged goods in Washington. He couldn't even get work. As Muscle. Lobbyist a brief attempt to rehabilitate his reputation by appearing on dancing with the stars didn't bear fruit. It turns out the only person who really wanted to make Tom delay dance. Was Jack Abramov. Meanwhile the federal investigation into Abramov's associates God it broader and broader. Thanks to their star witnesses. Cooperation jacked cheerfully name names and revealed details of exactly how he bribed arrive. The legislators ultimately over twenty people were convicted in connection with the Abramov scandal among them was former congressman. Bob Name who admitted to taking a bribe. He became the only elected official to serve jail. Time as a result of Abramov activities. Plenty of staffers and lower level public officials were thrown under the bus. But of the one hundred congressmen Abramov. Once boasted of controlling the only way was ever even charged after the bribery probe had gotten all it could out out of its big fish. It was finally time for Jack to face the music. He reported to the Cumberland Minimum Security prison on November fifteenth in two thousand six. The man who wants build no less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars per month was forced to work as a dishwasher in prison prison for twelve cents an hour out of those earnings. He was expected to start making a dent in the court ordered twenty five million dollars in restitution. He owed his tribal clients and his one point seven million dollar tax debt while Abramov scrubbed pans in the clink. The wider world remained horrified by his revelations about Washington corruption. George W Bush never personally faced consequences for his ties to WHO Abramov unless you count returning some money. That is but his party suffered historic losses in the two thousand six elections on a scale comparable rebel to the one thousand nine hundred ninety four Gingrich Revolution discussed with Republican corruption continued and it helped to propel Barack Iraq Obama to a presidential victory in two thousand eight the young charismatic Obama and his support for campaign finance reform even appeal to some Republican voters. Who felt betrayed by people like Tom delay? There's a natural follow up question here and that is did anything things change in Washington. If you believe Jack Abramov that's a big fat. No since his two thousand ten release Jack is on the record occurred saying that everything he did in the two thousands he could do today despite some attempts at campaign finance reform large campaign donations. Oh nations have only become easier to make in recent years thanks to a series of Supreme Court decisions most famously. The citizens united a decision in two thousand ten led to the creation of super pacs political action committees with absolutely no legal limit on and donations sizes in an interview with CBS. Abramov put simply. You can't take congressman to lunch for twenty five dollars and buy. I am a hamburger or a steak or something like that but you can take him to a fundraising lunch and not only by that steak but give him twenty five thousand dollars dollars extra and call it a fundraiser. There's one more big glaring sign that Jack Abramov truly believes Congress is still available for purchase. You guessed it. He's lobbying again. After a brief stint as a campaign finance reform activist vist Jack Abramov re registered in two thousand sixteen has a federal lobbyist these days his big crusade is against the green renew deal a package of climate legislation championed by left of center elected officials including representative Alexandria. Oh Cossio Cortes in a recent fundraising pitch to his supporters. Abramov wrote Alexandria. Oh Cossio Cortez wasn't even in diapers. When I started ended fighting the left and I'm about to teach her and her cronies a few things they're going to wish they never learned? And it won't just be a math lesson Jack. Abramov subtracted ethics multiplied. His fees divided his clients and added a few bribes. The product of this fuzzy math breath was a years long corruption probe followed by a stint in jail. Let's hope for the sake of the American voter that this time time. The arithmetic problem he's talking about is the federal budget. Thanks for listening. We'll be back next week with scandal number forty nine the chappaquiddick incident where we dig into the question of whether or not Ted Kennedy got away with murder. You can find all episodes of political scandals and all other podcast originals for for free on spotify. Not only to spotify already. Have all of your favorite music but now spotify making it easy for you to enjoy all of your favorite route park asked originals for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream political scandals on spotify. Just open the APP tat. Rows House and tight political scandals in the search bar. We'll see you next time. Political scandals was created by Max Cutler and disappear cast studios original it is executive produced by Max Cutler. Sound designed by Russell Nash With Production Assistance by Ron Shapiro Carly Madden Freddie Beckley and Trent Williamson Jason. This episode of political scandals was written by yellen a war with writing assistance. By Katy Gallagher and stars Kate Leonard and Richard Rossner.

Coming up next