Friday, March 31, 2006

Did Al Kamen write a letter? Did the editors at Indianz.com? Wonkette's editors sure did!

---fer sure!

In the loop -- WaPo -- and off the rez, baby! --> [ Hey, Al, who won the tee-shirt contest?]

For Jack's a Jolly Good Fellow!
By Al Kamen Friday, March 31, 2006; Page A17

The extraordinary outpouring of letters on behalf of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff must have played a part in persuading U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck to give Abramoff the minimum possible sentence Wednesday for fraud and conspiracy in buying casino boats in Florida. [More to follow - FEDERAL sentencing...Tony Rudy "Staffer A" just plead guilty...up next, Congressman Ney (R-OH]

The sheer volume -- 262 letters were ginned up by Abramoff's lawyers was impressive. [Remember all the letters for Kris Kringle in "Miracle on 34th Street"? This was "Kreplach in Florida"!] So was the range -- from family members to old friends to religious folks to a member of Congress (Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.).

The extraordinary outpouring of letters on behalf of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff must have played a part in persuading U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck to give Abramoff the minimum possible sentence Wednesday for fraud and conspiracy in buying casino boats in the Mariana Islands. All asked for leniency for a great guy who lost his way. They focused on Abramoff's good deeds -- local physician Gene Colice 's letter talked about neighbor Abramoff "trying to find a lost hamster on a Friday night" -- to his contributions to Jewish charities and religious institutions.

Some of the letters at first glance seem risky, raising the possibility of backfire. For example, there were two from the Northern Mariana Islands, Abramoff clients who were battling congressional efforts to impose federal control [yeah, but who cares about the political bushwa- Wonkette's was not very nice! I bet their leak about the Jack's request to us came from that lady from Washingtonian---Baltimore---Wilmington---- magazine. I am just a tinfoil hat-wearing PR flack , what the hell do I know??? Except that Wonkette is now a MAN!--but I digress...]

[MORE from Al] Northern Mariana Gov. Benigno R. Fitial wrote that Abramoff lobbied for the U.S. territory "during one of the darkest periods in our short history as a largely self-governing" commonwealth, a time when unions and other misguided do-gooders were demanding federal control of immigration -- which fuels the territory's growing sex trade -- and application of minimum-wage and other worker protections to the clothing factories there. Critics say the factories, which produce "Made in USA" goods, are little more than sweatshops.

Another letter came from Willie Tan , who introduced himself as someone "engaged in various international business enterprises," including "apparel manufacturing."

A BAD KNISH

A letter from well-known Washington attorney Nathan Lewin risked reminding Huck that Abramoff opened a kosher deli in downtown D.C. "at great personal sacrifice." Would have been less "sacrifice" if the failed operation had served better food. The real danger was that Huck might have dined there and had one of those potato knishes apparently microwaved so much that the potato filling was liquefied. If so, Huck would have been thinking summary execution, not leniency.

And there was a warm letter from Rabbi Daniel Lapin , urging leniency and noting Abramoff was not your "average criminal." Problem is, Lapin's letter might have reminded Huck that Abramoff contributed money to Lapin's group, Toward Tradition, to pay the salary of the wife of a top aide to then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).

Even worse, Lapin's letter might have reminded Huck of the hilarious September 2000 e-mail exchange, funnier than anything even the morally and ethically bankrupt protagonists in "The Producers" might have concocted:

"I hate to ask you for your help with something so silly," Abramoff wrote, "but I've been nominated for membership in the Cosmos Club, which is a very distinguished club in Washington, DC, comprised of Nobel Prize winners, etc. Problem for me is that most prospective members have received awards and I have received none.

"I was wondering," Abramoff continued, " if you thought it possible that I could put that I have received an award from Toward Tradition with a sufficiently academic title, perhaps something like Scholar of Talmudic Studies?

"Indeed, it would be even better if it were possible that I received these in years past, if you know what I mean," Abramoff wrote.

Ah, yes, a backdated, phony award.

No problem. "I just need to know what needs to be produced," Lapin responded. "Letters? Plaques?" Lapin now says he was joking, but one news report said Abramoff did get awards from Toward Tradition.

Well, the risks must have paid off. Huck went as low as legally possible on the sentence, five years and 10 months.

Unclear if Abramoff got his Cosmos membership.

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1 comment:

HighVizPR said...

the wonkette letter

NO I DO NOT DISLIKE WONKETTE (SMILE)

http://www.wonkette.com/politics/jack-abramoff/a-bleg-for-mr-abramoff-160139.php