2/18/2006

For the Record: Jack Abramoff contributed no campaign money to Democrats

[editor's note, by wanderindiana] At long last. Promoted. -wander
[author's note]
cross-posted to dailykos and BooMan Tribune

To clarify discussion of Jack Abramoff's campaign contributions, our report wants to answer the still-debated but simple question,
'did Jack Abramoff act as a partisan with his own personal campaign contributions or did he make payments in a bipartisan way?
Look at our compilation and review of the complete FEC disclosure record and you can answer that question for yourself.




Jack Abramoff has achieved fame beyond the fortune that he and associated lobbyists have accumulated over a decade by leveraging his access to government officials to influence the decisions under their control and to favor paying customers. Abramoff's influence-buying network is complex and represented customers ranging from corporations to sovereign Indian nations while exerting his influence through far-flung access to Congress and the White House.

Though controversial, US regulations still permit 'legitimate' access to governmental officials by third-party advocates to influence outcomes of decisions that often effect interests of lobbyists' paying customers. Regulatory changes meant to eliminate campaign conributions as a means of buying access or influence have left loopholes open widely enough that congressional calendars often advertise such opportunities in terms of donation-dollars/PAC.

So, access to congressional members is legal, using campaign contributions to sway their decisions is not, and whether contributions influence legislation is often arguable. Recent reports from ongoing investigations are that Abramoff directed the timing and recipient of some of the large number of payments among Abramoff, his wife Pam and associates, lobbying customers, and elected officials. Whether or not decisions made by legislators were the product of specific contributions, by the lobbyist, his wife or associates, his customers, and many other questions are muddied despite the recent changes in campaign finance loopholes.

In addition, Jack Abramoff's long-term association with the Republican Party is well-known. But the once-traditional alignment of many native American interests to political priorities of Democrats has blurred in recent years and particularly as the K Street Project has approached establishment of a stranglehold by the GOP on lobbying opportunities in Washington. The resulting 'squeeze-out' of Democrats during this period that -- not a coincidence -- has seen Abramoff's meteoric rise has increasingly shifted tribal advocacy jobs to the Republican camp. So the interests of the Republican power structure are benefitted by intentionally 'blurring' the Abramoff corruption scandal as being one that's bipartisan in nature.

To clarify public discussion of Jack Abramoff's campaign contributions our report wants to answer one apparently still-open (Tracking 90% of Senate Dems (40) took Abramoff cash talking point) but simple question:

'did Jack Abramoff act as a partisan with his personal campaign contributions or did he make his payments in a bipartisan way?'

Our report allows you to answer that question clearly.

To enable the public to assess exactly who Jack Abramoff -- himself, alone -- made campaign contributions to, we obtained records from the Federal Elections Commission by directly querying the online disclosure database. Various first-last name combinations provide differing results but the most complete set was obtained by searching for "Abramoff J" and three irrelevant records were removed. Finally, for each candidate or committee reported, we looked at several independent sources (where available) to judge the political affiliation of those who received Abramoff's payments.

Jack Abramoff's influence-buying agenda has played out over many years and is vast in its size. In fact, the first attempt to present our results here in the Scoop publishing environment exceeded the capacity that could be handled by ePluribusMedia's Community Forum. So our results are distributed across four posts that are linked below.

We ask our readers to use their own judgement after looking at the most recent (1/30/2006) and complete record we could assemble. Then, if you please, answer our poll question:

Did Jack Abramoff make his personal campaign contributions in a bipartisan fashion?

kfred, Wanderindiana, standingup, and Cho contributed subtantially to making this work.
Complete Record of Jack Abramoff's Campaign Contributions (1/30/2006)

Note: links take you to the ePluribusMedia website


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