Monday, January 16, 2006

A longtime Friend, Dale Rohrabacher (R-CA), stands by Jack Abramoff -- and seems to understand what happened

I am going to e-mail the Congressman and thank him for his kind words. He's right, you know. These things happen. Warren Harding was caught, too. Teapot Dome happened. Drew Pearson covered much more than the Abscams and the "Abramoff effect". Yes, unless you took favors and kickbacks, you silly pundits, it's time to leave Jack alone.

I buried my heart on K Street. I said bye to the tribes when the Torres Martinez refused to pay me last year.

Tue, Jan. 10, 2006
Longtime friend stands by Abramoff
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA (Huntington Beach), came to the defense of disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff on Monday, saying he's a good person who's been unjustly criticized.

''They're portraying Jack as a monster. I see him more as a good person who's done bad things and has to be punished for doing bad things,'' Rohrabacher, a longtime friend of Abramoff, said in a phone interview.

''I think that he obviously has done some things that are wrong and illegal, and he's going to have to pay the price for it. I think that a lot of other things that have been characterized as corruption on the part of Abramoff are actually standard operating procedures for lobbying in Washington, D.C. -- arranging trips and things like that.

''So I think that he's received a lot of unjust criticism.''

Abramoff pleaded guilty last week to federal conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud charges. He has agreed to tell the FBI about alleged bribes to as many as 20 members of Congress and aides.

The investigation, which helped force Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, to step down as House majority leader and is sparking lobbying reforms on Capitol Hill, has left Abramoff scant defenders on Capitol Hill.

''I'm certainly not going to kick a friend in the teeth when he's down,'' Rohrabacher said.
Rohrabacher said he has not been contacted by prosecutors in the probe, and said Abramoff never tried to bribe him. Still, he said he's planning to return $3,000 in campaign cash he got from the ex-lobbyist, and he's also willing to return some $4,500 he got from Indian tribes that Abramoff represented, if the tribes want the money back.

The two men met when Rohrabacher was a speechwriter in the Reagan White House and Abramoff was chairman of College Republicans.


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