Jack and the Shrimp Slayer
Yesterday the Tracy Press published an editorial that noted Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Shrimp Slayer-Merced, had also received money from Washington super-lobbyist, now singing to federal prosecutors. The amount is small, compared with what Rep. RichPAC Pombo, Buffalo Slayer-Tracy has received, but Cardoza felt called upon to protest today even the mention of his name in connection with the wholesale corruption now being investigated. So, on account of a thousand dollars from an Indian casino, we get this:
I have never met Mr. Abramoff, nor have I had any dealings with him. Period. In fact, the contribution I received from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians occurred long after the tribe had cut all ties with Mr. Abramoff and his firm.
Cardoza wrote in a letter to the Tracy Press today.
Mr. Abramoff’s admitted crimes are shameful and flagrant abuses of the public trust. Any public official convicted of wrongdoing in this matter should be punished to the furthest extent of the law... The scandal surrounding Mr. Abramoff has cast a dark cloud over Congress and threatens to further weaken the public’s trust in the integrity of their government.
When the Shrimp Slayer conjures up "the public's trust" to defend his moral rectitude, the public gets the fantods. The man speaks like a neo-con hack. The Pomboza, Cardoza and Rep. RichPac Pombo, Buffalo Slayer-Tracy's wholesale attack on the public trust in their suite of bills to dismember the Endangered Species Act, comes to mind. The Pomboza collecting their contributions from developers last spring at their joint fundraiser at the Grupe ranch in Lodi comes to mind. It turns the public mind to the Pomboza trip, with Interior Secretary Gale Norton, in January 2004 to the Marianas, where Abramoff textile sweatshops are located. Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez is now calling for a House investigation (along with other on-going investigations) into connections between members of Congress, Ambramoff's Marianas clients, and legislative affecting the area.
Of course, out there in the Great Water, where Bikini was and the US still conducts tests, maybe the Shrimp Slayer was scouting out territory for UC weapons of mass destruction testing.
More questions are raised than answered by Cardoza's pious denial. For a congressman who doesn't know Abramoff, he's certainly up to date on when and for how long the lobbyist was connected with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. In fact, Cardoza's deep dependency on Pombo, Doolittle, DeLay and the rest of the hard rightwingers in the House suggests involvement with their top money guy, Abramoff. We may never know, however, because campaign financing in this country is a hall of mirrors equal to its tax code, federal highway and HUD funding. Given the public's low level of trust in its congressmen, Cardoza raises a good question: why trust his denial of involvement with Abramoff? Or is just because the other half of The Pomboza, Pombo, denies knowing a lobbyist who gave him $55,000?
Any public official convicted of wrongdoing in this matter should be punished to the furthest extent of the law ...
Cardoza intones. Are we looking at a falling out among thieves? Next thing we know, Cardoza will deny every having known Pombo -- who is in the limelight, along with Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin -- of this investigation. Will Cardoza also deny knowing Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, who received $8,500 from the Abramoff operation? Will he give up membership in the Portuguese American Political Caucus of the House of Representatives, whose members received $200,700 from various Abramoff pots? For example, Patrick Kennedy, D-RI, co-chair with Pombo of PALCUS, received more than four times ($42,500) what Rep. Nick Rahall, D-WVa, ranking minority member of the Resources Committee received ($10,000) from Abramoff.
Just exactly where will all the denial end? Who knows, but probably the Abramoff affair will test the limits of absurd denial as it unfolds.
The Tracy Press wasn't making this up. It came from
http://capitaleye.org/abramoff_recips.asp?sort=N, whose parent website is
No Abramoff dealings
I would like to clarify a few points from Thursday’s editorial, “Reform U.S. Capitol lobbying,” which stated that I had received a contribution from an Indian tribe connected to Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. I have never met Mr. Abramoff, nor have I had any dealings with him. Period. In fact, the contribution I received from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians occurred long after the tribe had cut all ties with Mr. Abramoff and his firm.
Mr. Abramoff’s admitted crimes are shameful and flagrant abuses of the public trust. Any public official convicted of wrongdoing in this matter should be punished to the furthest extent of the law.
I strongly agree that Washington needs to take immediate and dramatic action to reform lobbying. This is long overdue. The scandal surrounding Mr. Abramoff has cast a dark cloud over Congress and threatens to further weaken the public’s trust in the integrity of their government. My sincere hope is that Americans’ outrage over this violation of the public trust will force Congress to enact meaningful reform that will crack down on these abuses and demand greater transparency from lobbyists and public officials. I pledge to speak out and fight for these reforms.
Reform U.S. Capitol lobbying
Super lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s squealing to federal prosecutors may expose the depth of this sordid game of special interests exchanging monetary gifts for political influence in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.
Among those on Abramoff’s trail of deception, fraud and money exchange are about 300 members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats. They include Reps. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced. Between 1999 and today, Pombo has received $54,500 in contributions from Abramoff and the American Indian tribes that hired him as a lobbyist. Cardoza has accepted $1,000.
Pombo’s contribution from Abramoff and Abramoff-connected parties is the fifth highest among the members of Congress (Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., is No. 1 with $101,620). Since 2003, Pombo has been chairman of the House Resources Committee, which handles Indian affairs.
Neither Pombo nor Cardoza has been implicated publicly in the Abramoff case. Pombo says he has never met the guilty lobbyist. Fortunately, Pombo’s rise in leadership came at the same time Abramoff’s influence as a lobbyist was dwindling because of federal investigations.
Accepting campaign contributions from a lobbyist, an Indian tribe or other special interests isn’t a crime unless there is a direct quid pro quo, and even then it is hard to prove in court. That’s why prosecutors let Abramoff and his associates make deals — so they can squeal on the lawmakers.
Abramoff was associated with the K Street Project that was designed by the Republican Party to force big business and trade groups to hire more Republican-connected lobbyists. The K Street Project created an almost seamless relationship between members of Congress and corporate America. Abramoff was the middleman who profited from the monetary influence.
After the partisan finger-pointing ends in Washington over the Abramoff case, Congress must to embark on immediate lobbying reform with tougher disclosure laws and stricter professional standards.
The Abramoffs of D.C. reflect the wrong side of democracy — the freedom to commit greed and fraud when no officeholder wants to look. This disregard of fairness in government disillusions Americans, who wonder if all lawmakers are crooks, not statesmen.
Among the ways the statesmen can regain the confidence of Americans while decreasing the influence of lobbyists and political action committees with fistfuls of dollars is by interacting more with the folks in their districts and states and less with Abramoff-clone lobbyists.
Miller Calls for Probe into Abramoff's Marianas Dealings
By Josephine Hearn
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) today called for a congressional investigation into former lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with the commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, which Abramoff represented from 1994 to 2001.
Miller wrote a 7-page letter to Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over U.S. territories, asking that the committee exercise its appropriate oversight responsibilities without further delay to investigate a variety of allegations of improper behavior, including the overpayment for lobbying services, interference in territorial elections, interference in contract procurement, and the questionable payment of overseas trips for Members of Congress and staff. Abramoff has been at the center of a growing scandal over sizeable fees he and his associate Michael
Scanlon charged Indian tribes for lobbying and public relations. Two Senate committees, a federal taskforce and the Interior Department¹s inspector general are conducting separate investigations into the duo and their dealings with members of Congress and administration officials.
Abramoff arranged for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) to visit the islands in December 1997 to tour textile factories. The commonwealth¹s government, an Abramoff client at the time, and the Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association paid for the trip.
A senior GOP aide to the Resources Committee said that the committee had seen Miller¹s letter, was still reviewing it and had no response at press time.
Miller and Abramoff have long been at odds over labor and immigration policy in the islands, with Miller contending that current laws are abusive to immigrant workers. Abramoff has represented garment manufacturers seeking to maintain the islands¹ exemption from certain U.S. immigration and labor laws.
Meanwhile, in other Abramoff-related news, watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington launched a new web site, www.jackinthehouse.org, to chronicle Abramoff¹s association with various members of the Congress, lobbyists and conservative activist. The group is urging visitors to the web site to contact House ethics committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and ask that the committee begin an investigation.
Miller: Abramoff Money Halted Sweat Shop Legislation
POSTED: 7:50 am PST January 4, 2006
UPDATED: 12:39 pm PST January 4, 2006
UNDATED -- East Bay Congressman George Miller just couldn't understand why his legislation to end sex and textile sweat shops in the Northern Mariana Islands -- a U.S. protectorate in the Pacific -- was being blocked in the House of Representatives. Now, he has his answer.
Miller had run into a roadblock allegedly thrown up by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
"There is no question that Jack Abramoff is no run-of-the-mill lobbyist," Miller said on Mornings on 2. "The Mariana Islands were one of Abramoff's clients…The garment industry there was importing young men from China and elsewhere work in sweat shops…There's a sex rade…labor camps."
"I was trying to get legislation passed in the House," Miller added. "It passed out of committee in the Senate and had bi-partisan support. I just couldn't get it to the floor of the House of Representatives."
Miller said it was time to investigate why the legislation was being blocked.
Blue Dog in South Pacific.
Delegation arrives for 2-day visit By Mark-Alexander Pieper Pacific Daily News;
TO THE POINT
* A congressional delegation arrived on island last night for a two-day a fact-finding trip.
A six-member congressional delegation visiting the Micronesia region on a fact-finding mission arrived on Guam last night for a two-day stay...
The delegation, accompanied by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and David Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs, was greeted by local dignitaries at the island's commuter terminal adjacent to the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam...
The delegation includes California Congressman and House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, Delegate Eni Faleomavaega from American Samoa, Reps. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont., Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., and Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo. All are members of the resources committee with the exception of Lucas.
After the statements, the delegation was whisked away to a hotel. Media was denied interviews with the delegation.
Earlier yesterday, the Interior Department announced that Norton and CNMI Gov. Juan Babauta signed a grant that will provide more than $5.1 million to the CNMI to mitigate the impact of migration from the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands.
"These funds will help the CNMI provide health, education and other social services to the citizens of the freely associated states who are permitted to migrate to the CNMI under the Compacts of Free Association," said Norton, who made her first visit to the Northern Marianas this week before arriving on Guam.
Capitaleye.org lists Rehberg received $30,000 and Lucas $2,500 from Abramoff operations.