Friday, April 29, 2005


Lobbying firms that employed Jack Abramoff, Tom's DeLay pal, were paid $7.2 million over a period of years by the Marianas Islands, a U.S. territory in the Pacific where clothing companies find cheap labor. The islands were trying to keep the U.S. government from toughening labor laws.

But paying for Abramoff's lobbying services apparently wasn't enough -- so in 1996 the Marianas also gave $1.2 million to David Lapin, a rabbi whose brother introduced Abramoff to DeLay. Lapin, The New York Times tells us, "has long promoted conservative causes in Washington." Apparently that kept him so busy that he was never able to hold up his end of the deal:

The government of a United States territory in the Pacific said Thursday that it had been unable to determine what work was performed for a $1.2 million contract awarded to a close associate of a Washington lobbyist at the center of a growing corruption scandal here....

Pam Brown, the attorney general for the Marianas, said Thursday that the government had been unable to determine what work David Lapin had done.

"We haven't been able to figure out what the deliverables were," Ms. Brown said. "He was tasked with providing some sort of ethical parameters for government work...."

Wow. Y'know, I don't want to just snicker at these people, but sometimes they almost make it too easy.


More delightful stuff from the same story:

In 1999, Mr. DeLay's former chief of staff, Edwin Buckham, and his former spokesman, Michael Scanlon, both of whom later worked with Mr. Abramoff in his lobbying firm, visited the islands to persuade two local lawmakers to change their votes for speaker of the islands' House of Representatives. The DeLay associates wanted the two legislators to support the candidate of the garment industry, Ben Fitial, who was close to Mr. Abramoff, and promised that federal contracts to the islands would follow if they did.

DeLay just loves micromanaging the makeup of legislatures, doesn't he?

Oh, and more fun:

Mr. Buckham later represented Enron in its bid to build an energy plant in the Northern Marianas, and when Enron lost to a Japanese concern, Mr. DeLay worked to get the bidding reopened.

I feel sleazy just reading this stuff.

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