It seems like ages since Jack Abramoff and his BFF Bob Ney got sent to the slammer, which must be why Bush’s Department of Justice seems to have totally forgotten about Jacky-boy’s other crimes and bribe-takers, right? I mean, they’ve totally got, like, religious discrimination cases to prosecute and Democratic voter fraud to uncover and stuff, and that’s hard. But someone hasn’t forgotten about an incident at the end of the Clinton Administration in which Jacky was working to get these two boobs (Don Young of Alaska and Dana “Don’t Make Any Sudden Moves” Rohrabacher of California) to help him discredit a U.S. diplomat… on behalf of the country in which that diplomat was serving.
Abramoff’s shady work with Tom “Eye-Tuck” Delay on getting the government of the Northern Marianas islands exempted from minimum wage laws and labor standards is already pretty well known, but perhaps less well know was his work on behalf of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This island of 62,000 people hired Abramoff tolobby issues in Washington for them, like many other foreign governments do. Abramoff’s work for the RMI, though, was fairly unique because, while he was officially hired to lobby to loosen controls on how they could spend their foreign aid, as a significant part of it seemed to involve settling a score that the then-Finance Minister Tony de Brum had with the then-U.S. Ambassador Joan Plaisted. Abramoff heard from his clients that Plaisted “wore a revealing dress to a Halloween soiree… [and] brought a bottle of wine to a party and didn’t share” (Joan, hey, call me, you sound kind of awesome!). Upon hearing that, Abramoff declared her “a disgrace to the United States government” and vowed to do something.
That something involved getting Members of Congress to denounce her on the floor of the House during a visit by RMI’s president that was later canceled. According to emails that The Hill somehow (mysteriously) obtained, Jacky lined up then-Congressman Joe Scarborough and pitched Young (who has denied any and all contact with Abramoff) and Dana Rohrabacher (who doesn’t recall any such thing) to weigh in as well. Additionally, Young actually traveled to the RMI to give a speech as part of a Congressional delegation (Codel) that Preston Gates in various legal filings claims to have planned. Codels are paid for by the U.S. government (as opposed to lobbyists), and it was and is strictly forbidden that lobbyists be involved in their planning or execution, which is probably only part of the reason that Young is denying his involvement.
But, like we said, it’s really busy at the Justice Department these days, what with their warrantless wiretapping and press releases responding to big protests and that actual prosecution of Democratic Congressman William Jefferson that’s headed for court. I’m sure they’ll get around to this shit before the statute of limitations expires or anything.