August 17, 2005 - 11:58am ET
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Fortunately, I can turn to TPM Cafe's Auction House to track the scandals emanating from the Abramoff/ DeLay nexus. Because the influence-peddling practiced by Abramoff and facilitated by DeLay is reported in discrete parts, it's hard to remember how each element contributes to the massive political machine DeLay operates. Blogging right now at Auction House is Ellen Miller, a former TomPaine.com publisher and longtime champion of congressional ethics and clean elections. Her latest post offers a useful review of the myriad "associates" who have dipped their fingers in the Abramoff honeypot.
Jack Abramoff -- who got the best government that money can buy -- has always reminded me a little of Charlie Keating, the former operator of the failed Lincoln Savings & Loan. Keating raised more than $1.3 million for the campaigns and causes of five U.S. senators (dubbed "The Keating 5") in the late 1980s in an effort to thwart investigations of his S&L by federal bank officials. Keating once remarked "One question . . . had to do with whether my financial support in any way influenced several political figures to take up my cause. I want to say in the most forceful way I can: I certainly hope so." No doubt Abramoff would say the same thing in a candid moment.
And I also can't quite get out of my mind that the lawmakers associated with Keating founded themselves in some trouble as a result. Ethics Committee investigations ensued and ultimately four out of the five -- Sens Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), John Glenn (D-Ohio) and Don Riegle (D-Mich.) -- retired prematurely. The fifth -- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) --became a champion of campaign finance reform.
Around our office, we've taken to calling those closely "associated" with Jack Abramoff, "The Abramoff 6" or, depending on how the story unfolds, "The Abramoff 7, 8 or 9." Actually, we figure that we could refer to them as the "Abramoff 128" if you count all the candidates who got money from Abramoff over the years.
So our nominees for "The Abramoff 6" are Tom DeLay (TX), Bob Ney (OH-18) Conrad Burns (R-MT), Dave Vitter (R-LA), Tom Feeney (FL-24), and Dan Rohrabacher (CA-46)
Josh (over at the Talking Points Memo site) has been busy chronicling all the contacts between DeLay and Abramoff, focusing particularly after DeLay supposedly "washed his hands" of the lobbyist.
<!--StartFragment --> Let's look at the relationship between the others and Abramoff:
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