News and articles relating to the scandal surrounding Washington D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Raw Story | Abramoff lobbying partner agrees to testify against Abramoff

Filed by RAW STORY

Michael Scanlon has agreed to testify against one-time business partner Jack Abramoff in any future criminal case involving the ex-lobbying superstar, ROLL CALL reported Friday afternoon. Excerpts.

The Justice Department has filed a ?criminal information? document in federal court related to Scanlon, and there will be a hearing before a federal judge Monday afternoon.

At that time, Scanlon is expected to plead guilty to one felony count of conspiracy. Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), would them testify against Abramoff and anyone else indicted in the case, according to Justice Department sources.

According to the criminal information document, Scanlon?s alleged illegal activities are linked to Abramoff and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), although neither is named in the indictment. Only ?Representative #1? and ?Lobbyist A? are mentioned, although media reports and testimony before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee make clear the inference is to the two men.

Scanlon Charged With Conspiracy to Defraud - Yahoo! News

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer

Michael Scanlon, partner of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, was charged Friday with conspiring to defraud Indian tribes the two were representing of millions of dollars.

In a one-count criminal information filed by the government, Scanlon was charged with conspiring with another lobbyist, who was not identified.

Although the document lists Scanlon's co-conspirator only as "Lobbyist A," it has been a matter of public record for more than a year that Scanlon and Abramoff had a fee-splitting arrangement and represented several Indian tribes.

Scanlon was once a top aide to former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who stepped down from his leadership post after being charged with violating campaign finance laws in Texas.

The filing of a criminal information, rather than an indictment, often means prosecutors have reached a plea agreement with a defendant.

Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra confirmed that a hearing has been scheduled for Monday in Scanlon's case, but would provide no details.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee is investigating Abramoff and Scanlon and the more than $80 million they were paid between 2001 and 2004 by six Indian tribes with casinos.

In another investigation, Abramoff has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida on charges of fraud and conspiracy stemming from his role in the 2000 purchase of a fleet of gambling boats.

Friend of Abramoff Testifies on Their Ties - New York Times

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 - The director of a pro-business environmental group testified on Thursday that she considered the lobbyist Jack Abramoff a "friend and donor" when she pressed his clients' interests with her contacts at the Department of the Interior from 2001 to 2003.

Italia Federici, the director of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, denied that she helped Mr. Abramoff gain access to government officials in exchange for his funneling donations from Indian tribes to her advocacy group. She said she had simply believed that Mr. Abramoff and his clients were helping her organization out of generosity, and said that she did relatively little to help him with her government contacts in return.

Ms. Federici, who had ducked an earlier appearance before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, appeared after being subpoenaed by Senator John McCain, chairman of the panel, which is wrapping up a year of hearings on Mr. Abramoff. Their 90-minute encounter on Thursday was hostile, with Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, repeatedly warning Ms. Federici that she could be held in contempt if she did not answer the panel's questions. Numerous e-mail messages released by the committee indicated a close working relationship between Mr. Abramoff and Ms. Federici, including her frequent promises to make phone calls on his behalf.

In some cases, their e-mail banter includes requests for money and lobbying issues wrapped together.

"Hi Jack: I hate to bother you with this right now, but I was hoping to ask about a possible contribution for CREA," Ms. Federici wrote on Jan. 9, 2003. "As usual, we budgeted and spent all of our money from last year, on last year, and have started out the new year with practically nada."

Mr. Abramoff, who represented several wealthy Indian casino operators including the Coushattas of Louisiana, replied: "Absolutely. We'll get that moving asap. The Coushattas are coming to DC next Thursday so I'll hit them immediately."

He continued with a request that Ms. Federici contact her friend J. Steven Griles, then a senior official at the Interior Department, for help batting down a contract that had been recently signed by the Louisiana governor and would have helped a rival Indian tribe. "Can you make sure Steve knows about this and puts the kibosh on it?" Mr. Abramoff asked.

Mr. Griles, who was the deputy secretary in the Interior Department, resigned earlier this year. His close relationship with Ms. Federici has been a focal point for investigators, who are assessing a broad range of lucrative Indian casino work performed by Mr. Abramoff. The Interior Department, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was an important business stop for Mr. Abramoff because of its control over many aspects of Indian governance.

While it is routine for outside issue advocates to work in tandem with lobbyists and government officials, investigators are considering whether Ms. Federici and Mr. Abramoff misled Indian tribes about the use of their donations to CREA, a group originally founded by Gale A. Norton, the interior secretary. Senators questioned Ms. Federici about her work on specific matters for the tribes represented by Mr. Abramoff, accusing her of steering CREA far from its stated mission of environmental advocacy.

Donations from clients of Mr. Abramoff to CREA approached $500,000, Ms. Federici said.

Investigators from several law enforcement agencies are pursuing accusations that Mr. Abramoff and a business associate, Michael Scanlon, defrauded several Indian tribes that paid them about $80 million for four years of work. The inquiry has had repercussions across Washington because of Mr. Abramoff's and Mr. Scanlon's close ties to the former House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay. One Bush administration official, David Safavian, the head of procurement at the Office of Management and Budget, has already been indicted and forced to resign. Mr. Abramoff is under indictment in another inquiry in Florida.


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