What Does Scanlon Know?


It’s wonderful that you don’t like me, and you don’t like my posts. How I post and what I post are however up to me. Thanks for your concern.

I will answer though. The whole point of having a discussion forum is to think about issues and discuss them. Which issues are thought about and discussed is necessarily left up to the participants.

Honestly, nobody is forcing you to read or reply to issues that I’m interested in.

That being said, I think it would pretty easy to force corporations to resort to paid advertisement, to influence public opinion, such that the public would then impress upon officials to institute policy. I believe this filter on corporate influence would have a large moderating effect… using money to attempt to sway the public, not to corrupt the politicians.

Freeing the politician from such direct influences and temptations would let them represent their people not themselves.

While people can be misled (look in a mirror) at least it is the democratic process and others can disagree, even if they don’t have the stomach to speak out publicly and be castigated, they can still cast their secret ballots.

[quote]vroom wrote:

That being said, I think it would pretty easy to force corporations to resort to paid advertisement, to influence public opinion, such that the public would then impress upon officials to institute policy. I believe this filter on corporate influence would have a large moderating effect… using money to attempt to sway the public, not to corrupt the politicians. [/quote]

I’m not sure I follow. Are you suggesting that corporations be banned from making any donations to politicians, whether to political campaigns or basically anything of value?

If I understand you correctly, this would be tough. Corporations have at least some First Amendment rights of expression, and muzzling them, particularly banning gifts to political campaigns, would likely not work.

Also, while I know from your post above that you’re familiar with capture theory, I want to point out that one of the most powerful ways in which industries “capture” the regulators is by offering them high-paying jobs after they get out of government. The knowledge that these jobs are available and likely to be offered serves as good motivation not to do anything to overly frustrate/upset the companies.

[quote]vroom wrote:

Freeing the politician from such direct influences and temptations would let them represent their people not themselves.

While people can be misled (look in a mirror) at least it is the democratic process and others can disagree, even if they don’t have the stomach to speak out publicly and be castigated, they can still cast their secret ballots.[/quote]

We’ll be much better off when all voters follow the issues more closely, and make their opinions known to their elected representatives.


I question the reality of this. I know that legislation has given corporations many rights, as a virtual entity, but they are not people, they are not living beings.

They have no right to make contributions directly to politicians, if laws are passed that would prohibit it. People have inherent rights, as granted in the constitution, corporations have rights as allowed by law or convention.

Nowhere do I recall reading that all legally recognized non-human entities are created equal to people.

Okay, this isn’t Scanlon, but it is a scandal…

Calif. Congressman Admits Taking Bribes
[i]SAN DIEGO - Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax charges, admitting taking $2.4 million in bribes in a case that grew from an investigation into the sale of his home to a wide-ranging conspiracy involving payments in cash, vacations and antiques.

Cunningham, 63, entered pleas in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004.

Cunningham answered “yes, Your Honor” when asked by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns if he had accepted bribes from someone in exchange for his performance of official duties.
Ouch. That had to hurt!

Why do you have such a problem with corporations participating on the political process?

Do you also have this same ill-will towards non-profits? How about labor unions?

I said before - you will never get corps out of the political process. Creating new laws that punish business for such participation serve no real purpose other than to punish.

That’s too bad w/r/t Cunningham. He’s a vet and a former aviator - I wouldn’t have expected it from him.

I suppose this would be a good time for me to rail against gerrymandered “safe” districts again, as I think that, more than anything, leads to corruption and incumbents who don’t pay attention to their constituents or the rules.

Rainjack, in reality I’m likely to have absolutely zero effect on anything as are you. That doesn’t change the fact that you and I have an opinion on it, nor should it.

Anyway, I am still exploring the concept a bit, but I think it would make sense to deny any interest group from specific monetary contributions to politicians.

It seems to me, that monetary contributions, beyond a personal level, start to twist the relationship that should exist between elected politicians and their constituents.

If the politicians have need of the special interest groups, whether legally or illegally, then they will pander to those groups more so than they would otherwise.

Money is a powerful motivator. Make sure this motivator is in the hands of the people, who theoretically should “control” to some degree the actions of their politicians.

I do understand that there are rich people and that illegal deals will still be taking place well after I am dead and buried.

The idea is to create a system that is as resistant as possible to influences that take it in directions it was not meant to go. It’s my opinion, and perhaps only my opinion, that lobbyist groups and financial interests have a lot of direct power in government affairs.

I don’t think the founding fathers intended this level of direct influence, hoping instead for discussion and consideration, not outright payment for a vote.

Well, turns out I’m not the only one thinking reform would be a good idea… unfortunately, I’m sure that since this is a democrat example I’ll now be lambasted for it.

Democrats plan to vote on campaign reform

HARTFORD, Conn. – Democrats who run the General Assembly said Monday they’re ready to vote on a campaign finance reform plan that would ban contributions from lobbyists and state contractors, and establish a voluntary, publicly funded financing system for state candidates.

The compromise plan, which also bans campaign advertising booklets used for fund-raising, would take effect in December 2006 _ after the next gubernatorial and state legislative elections.
And some general thoughts on the wider issue…

Ethics cloud grows wider over GOP

WASHINGTON – Had it been an isolated incident, the resignation from Congress of California Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham after he admitted taking a $2.4 million bribe might have been a blip on the way to a special election.

But as yet another corruption case involving prominent members of Congress, mainly Republicans, it’s fueling a scandal that is opening a window on big- money politics in Washington and shifting prospects for midterm elections.

It’s a bit of a pain to get past the initial advertising page, but if you do, this piece on Salon describes some of the dirt floating around…

Is the end near for Ney?

“We know we have a number of members here, and that number may be more than two or three or four,” says Ornstein, referring to the scope of the inquiry. “Right now I would be sweating bullets.”

Documents released by the Senate implicate no politician as strongly as Ney. In June 2002, for instance, Abramoff sent an e-mail to one of his clients, the Tigua tribe of El Paso, Texas, asking for money. According to Abramoff, a person referred to as “our friend” had asked “if we could help (as in cover) a Scotland golf trip for him and some staff (his committee chief of staff) and members for August.”

“The trip will be quite expensive,” Abramoff continued. “I anticipate the total cost – if he brings 3-4 members and wives – would be around $100k or more.” The recipient of the e-mail, a Tigua consultant named Marc Schwartz, testified before the Senate that the person called “our friend” was Rep. Bob Ney. Weeks after the e-mail, Ney and his chief of staff traveled to Scotland and the bill was apparently picked up with the help of Abramoff. Another participant in the trip, former White House official David Safavian, has been indicted on charges that he lied to federal investigators about his relationship to Abramoff.

The Tiguas considered Ney a friend because just months earlier he had agreed, according to another e-mail, to help reopen a shuttered Tigua casino. “Just met with Ney!!! We’re f’ing gold!!! He’s going to do Tigua,” Abramoff wrote to his partner Scanlon in March 2002. The deal to reopen the casino later fell apart.

In 2000, Ney also inserted statements into the Congressional Record at the behest of Scanlon. One statement praised the “track record as a businessman and as a citizen” of another business partner of Abramoff’s, Adam Kidan. Kidan and Abramoff have since been charged with fraud in connection with a casino purchase in Florida, which was followed by the gangland-style shooting of the casino’s former owner.
Nice, placing those statements in the congressional record looks like a great idea in retrospect…

I guess the question now becomes, what do Scanlon and Abramoff know?

Abramoff Lawyers in Plea Talks, Source Says
Abramoff would plead guilty under an arrangement that would settle a criminal case against him in Florida as well as potential corruption charges in Washington, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

The person describing the ongoing discussions said they have been going on “a long time, months.” Only in the past week or so have they come “close to any kind of fruition,” the person said.

The person cautioned that unspecified issues remain to be worked out. The person added that if the conversations proceeded smoothly, an agreement could be reached quickly, as early as “the beginning of next week.” Abramoff has not been charged in the corruption investigation.

The New York Times first reported on the talks Tuesday night in a story its Web site.

The person declined to specify how many members of Congress Abramoff could implicate, saying only that “cooperation is cooperation; it’s full cooperation.”

Partisan issues aside, the more corruption and money they can remove from the decisionmaking process, on both sides, the better.

How long do you think it will take for this issue to finally play out. Cooperation will start, cases will be created and investigated, hearings will be held, politics will be played.

Do you think this issue will still be alive during the next presidential election cycle? It will probably be too slow to show up before the end of next year.

Or am I dreaming and nothing will really happen… people won’t finally decide to try to do something about Washington? Yes, I’m talking about your lazy complacent ass…

The real question is: What is there to know? If there is something there, I’m certain they know it.

Hopefully, whatever the outcome, this whole thing will serve to highlight the practices of lobbyists and focus the voters on the issue of the relationship between pork and lobbying.

For those that want to know more about this travesty…

Making Sense of the Abramoff Scandal
It’s a sordid tale of Washington corruption, and of crony capitalism at its worst, and it is so dizzyingly complex that few media outlets and even fewer members of the public have yet appreciated just how thoroughly it indicts not just Republican leadership, but the entire bipartisan way of crafting public policy that masquerades as 21st century American democracy.

Abramoff figures in at least four separate, interrelated scandals:

  1. He and partner Adam Kidan have been indicted on wire fraud and conspiracy charges involving the 2000 purchase of SunCruz Casinos, a Florida gambling boat venture;

  2. He funneled money into the PAC run by House Majority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay that has led to Texas charges against DeLay for illegally laundering campaign donations;

  3. He and partner Michael Scanlon are suspected of defrauding and vastly overbilling Native American tribes and other clients with gaming interests; and

  4. He and Scanlon are also suspected of bribing and offering gifts and spousal jobs to Congressmembers and Executive Branch officials in exchange for actions favorable to their clients.

Appallingly, it’s hard to tell with many of Abramoff’s activities whether they are crimes, D.C. business as usual, or both. Here, then, compiled from The Washington Post and other sources, is a summary in alphabetical order of 25 of the key players involved, how they relate to each other, and what they’re suspected of. It’s rather long and exhaustive (of what we know so far), but then, the indictments will be far longer. Read it, keep it as a scorecard, and weep for democracy.
Read it for details, but here are the names mentioned:

Jack Abramoff
Edward Ayoob
Edwin Buckham
Sen. Conrad Burns
Rep. Tom DeLay
Rep. John Doolittle
Sen. Byron Dorgan
Itallia Federici
Timothy Flanagan
Steven Griles
Rep. Dennis Hastert
Rep. Doc Hastings
Adam Kidan
Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Ed Miller
Rep. Robert Ney
Grover Norquist
Patrick Pizzela
Rep. Richard Pombo
Ralph Reed
Sen. Harry Reid
Tony Rudy
David Safavian
Michael Scanlon
Neil Volz

P.S. It doesn’t seem to be a partisan piece, from what I can tell. However, I’m not familiar enough with the people involved to know for sure.

alternet is as bad as powerline (hey BB…how ya doin?). At least the facts in this alternet article are correct in this instance.

Give it a rest.

Abramhoff is working on a plea deal. The deadline is Jan. 9th as he is due to stand trial in Florida for his role in the Sun Cruz scandal.

The GOP just F’ed themselves for getting into bed with Delay and Abramhoff.

This is going to be bigger then you can imagine.

Bloomberg News
Abramoff’s `Equal Money’ Went Mostly to Republicans


Interesting article today on Abramoff in the Washington Post – this guy was a complete sleaze.

It will be interesting to see what comes from this - and, because this will certainly come up, who is willing to trust the word of a complete sleaze when it’s the sole basis of an accusation… Should be very interesting - and anyone who actually took bribes from this guy should go down.

Abramoff Makes Plea Deal, Will Cooperate


By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Lobbyist Jack Abramoff will plead guilty to federal charges in Washington and Miami, clearing the way for him to cooperate in a massive government investigation of influence peddling involving members of Congress, lawyers said Tuesday.

As part of the deal, prosecutors were filing conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges against the embattled lobbyist.

Abramoff was scheduled to appear at a hearing in U.S. District Court here later Tuesday, said department spokesman Bryan Sierra. Abramoff was expected to plead guilty to three charges as part of his agreement.

Abramoff was then to plead guilty to two criminal charges in Florida stemming from a 2000 purchase of a fleet of gambling boats, said Neal Sonnett, his attorney there.

Abramoff will plead guilty to two of the six charges in a federal indictment, Sonnett said.

U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck has scheduled a telephone status conference for later Tuesday. Four other charges in Florida will remain pending.

Any such plea agreement likely would secure the Republican lobbyist’s testimony against several members of Congress who received favors from him or his clients. The Justice Department is believed to be focusing on as many as 20 lawmakers and aides.

The new charges were contained in a criminal information ? a filing made by a federal prosecutor with a defendant’s permission that bypasses action by a grand jury.

Prosecutors say Abramoff and former partner Michael Scanlon conspired to defraud Indian tribes in Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and Texas of millions of dollars. Abramoff reaped roughly $20 million in hidden profits from the scheme, according to the information. Scanlon pleaded guilty in November.

Abramoff and Scanlon also lavished a golf trip to Scotland and other things of value on a member of Congress, identified elsewhere as Rep. Bob Ney (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio, chairman of the House Administration Committee, the court document said. Ney has denied doing anything wrong.

Pressure had been intensifying on Abramoff to strike a deal with prosecutors since another former partner, Adam Kidan, pleaded guilty earlier this month to fraud and conspiracy in connection with the 2000 SunCruz boat deal in Florida.

Abramoff’s cooperation would be a boon to an ongoing Justice Department investigation of congressional corruption, possibly helping prosecutors build criminal cases against up to two-dozen lawmakers of both parties and their staff members.

The continuing saga of Abramoff’s legal problems has caused anxiety at high levels in Washington, in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan could not say Tuesday whether Abramoff ever met
President Bush. But when asked at the White House about this, the spokesman said that “what he is reportedly acknowledged doing is unacceptable and outrageous.”

“If laws were broken, he must be held to account for what he did,” McClellan said.

For months, prosecutors in Washington have focused on whether Abramoff defrauded his Indian tribal clients of millions of dollars and used improper influence on members of Congress.

In a five-year span ending in early 2004, tribes represented by the lobbyist contributed millions of dollars in casino income to congressional campaigns, often routing the money through political action committees for conservative lawmakers who opposed gambling.

Abramoff also provided trips, sports skybox fundraisers, golf fees, frequent meals, entertainment and jobs for lawmakers’ relatives and aides.

In Florida, Abramoff and Kidan were indicted in August on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud in connection with their purchase of the SunCruz fleet for $147.5 million from Miami businessman Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis.

Prosecutors said the pair faked a $23 million wire transfer to make it appear that they were making a significant contribution of their own money into the deal. Based on that transfer, lenders Foothill Capital Corp. and Citadel Equity Fund Ltd. agreed to provide $60 million in financing for the purchase.

Kidan pleaded guilty Dec. 15 to one count of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines at sentencing scheduled for March 1.

Scanlon agreed to cooperate in the SunCruz case as part of a plea agreement in a separate case with federal prosecutors in Washington. In that agreement, Scanlon admitted helping Kidan and Abramoff buy SunCruz, partly by persuading Ney to insert comments in the Congressional Record designed to pressure Boulis to sell.

Oops, looks like I was too slow. So, now we have to ask “What do Scanlon and Abramoff Know”?

I’m guessing… quite a bit.

It is looking grim for DeLay. I’m noticing the language being used by fellow republicans in the article below…

House GOP Calls for DeLay Replacement

[i]“I do not want Tom Delay to return,” said Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico, who has faced tough challengers in several recent elections.

“Three of his former senior staff members have admitted or have been implicated in corrupt and illegal activities to get money for themselves by influencing legislation,” she said. “Whether or not Mr. Delay was involved himself or knew this was going on, he is responsible for his office. I cannot tolerate this.”

Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., said through a spokesman that he, too, will sign the petition.

“He believes the conference needs bold leaders whose integrity is above reproach and who will lead us on much needed ethics reform and other reforms necessary to move the nation forward,” said the spokesman, John Gentzel.

Abramoff frequently had stressed his ties to DeLay in the course of seeking business from prospective lobbying clients, and had hired a number of former DeLay aides as employees. One of them, Michael Scanlon, pleaded guilty last November as part of the same investigation that led to Abramoff’s confession of guilt this week.

According to papers filed in court, Abramoff paid the wife of another DeLay aide $50,000 over several months as part of an effort to kill legislation opposed by his lobbying clients.[/i]

I can’t resist the urge to point out that republicans are also calling for reforms at this point.

Vroom,keep posting buddy.I like reading your threads.

Here’s a little bit of information that fits into the puzzle somewhere…

Lobbying Grenade
Until now, all the Democrats had going for them entering the 2006 election cycle was a boggling array of colossal George Bush mistakes, including disaster-relief failures, domestic spying accusations, sputtering economic policies, a mishmash of corruption, and an unjustified war. But being Democrats, they needed more help.

It has arrived, thanks to the prison-bound alumni from the Seattle-based Preston Gates Ellis law and lobbying firm, where the law breaking began. The little Gang That Couldn’t Loot Straight, led by fallen super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, wasn’t satisfied with mere riches from the ordinary and often allowable D.C. corruption through quid pro quo. Abramoff and fellow Preston Gates Ellis grad Michael Scanlon have now both plea-bargained felony charges, conceding that they turned Republican backroom deal-making into a political shakedown too grandiose even for Washington.

A third Preston Gates Ellis grad, Bush appointee David Safavian, ex-chief of staff of the General Services Administration, is accused of lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Abramoff’s attempts to buy government land, and he was involved in one of Abramoff’s corrupt overseas junkets. Safavian is likely now being squeezed to cooperate in the Justice Department’s Lobbygate probe, rumored to be targeting more than a dozen congressional members and staffers.
The last paragraph (quoted above) is interesting. No, not because he is a Bush appointee, but because I can’t see why this person wouldn’t cooperate and point fingers. However, he would have to have something relatively juicy on somebody in order to get a good deal, right?