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Friday, June 24, 2022

The Abramoff Saga – A Tale Of Greed And Betrayal

Who Is Jack Abramoff?By Bobbie O’Neill CSMS staff writerAccording to NNDB tracking the entire world – Jack A. Abramoff was born February 28th, 1958 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. When he was ten years of age the family moved to Beverly Hills. California His is a White male and a member of the Jewish faith. His sexual orientation is “straight” and his occupation is listed as Government. He is a U.S citizen and lists his executive summary as a lobbyist.  His father Franklin Abramoff (aka Frank) is chairman of Arnold Palmer Enterprises and a Diners Club executive. His brother Robert is an entertainment attorney. His wife, Pamela C. Abramoff, is listed as the co director of the Capitol Athletic Foundation, formerly known as the National Institute of Torah Foundation. The couple has 5 children including a set of twins. Abramoff attended Beverly Hills High School and Brandeis University where he received a BA degree in 1981. He attended law school at Georgetown University and got a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1986. Abramoff’s Dealings With Indian Tribes Senator John McCain (R-AZ) Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee presided over most of the four scheduled hearings held by the Committee on Abramoff’s questionable dealings with Indian tribes involved with gambling and turned the spotlight on Abramoff’s client, the Mississippi Band of Choctaws which he represented from 1995 to 2004. McCain traced the trail of money from the Choctaws to a private company controlled by Abramoff, a private Jewish school founded by Abramoff and even paramilitary groups in Israel. According to information released at the hearing, Abramoff and his partner, Michael Scanlon, charged the Choctaws $7.7 million in 2001 for public affairs and grassroots lobbying. After Scanlon spend $1.2 million on the activities, the two split the rest and records indicate the money spent was not spent on lobbying or public affairs for the Choctaw Nation. For example, the Choctaws paid $1 million in 2002 to the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank of which Abramoff was a board member. Although the tribe was led to believe it was paying for “professional services” performed as part of Scanlon’s public-relations duties, half of the million went to a company controlled by Scanlon, Capitol Campaign Strategies; $50,000 to repay a personal loan Abramoff incurred during his days as a filmmaker; and the remaining $450,000 was a donation to a charity controlled by Abramoff, the Capitol Athletic Foundation. The great majority of the contribution to the Athletic Foundation were later passed on to the Eshkol Academy, an all-boys Orthodox Jewish school in Columbia, Maryland that Abramoff founded. The foundation also paid a monthly stipend and Jeep payments to a high-school friend of Abramoff who conducted sniper workshops for members of the Israeli Defense Force in Israel’s West Bank. Can you imagine the sense of anger, humiliation and betrayal the Philadelphia, Mississippi Band must have felt when they discovered their funds were being funneled to support Jewish, not Native American projects?   To add insult to injury, the following statements come from former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Northern Cheyenne,  (R-CO) who was chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee on September 29th, 2004. E-mails obtained by the Committee show that Abramoff and Scanlon regularly referred to their Native clients using contemptuous, even racist, language.  Nighthorse reported,” Allow me to give you an example of what I am talking about. In an e-mail discussing a dinner meeting with a client, Mr. Abram off asked Mr. Scanlon to meet with the client. The reason Mr. Abram off couldn’t attend. ‘I have to meet with the monkeys from the Choctaw tribal council, you need to close the deal. . . with the client.’ “Mind you these ‘monkeys’ as Mr. Abramoff refers to the Tribal Council of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, had enriched him over a five-year period with over $7 million in lobbying fees. “But I must say, the allegation that most concerns me is that Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon may have tried to manipulate the outcomes of tribal elections for their personal profit. “Our investigation has found that, in at least two instances, Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon sought to profit by becoming involved in and attempting to manipulate tribal elections. They helped to elect council members, at no charge, but apparently with the understanding they would be compensated later.” The tribes mentioned at the hearing are the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of California and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan. Outcome Of The Above And Other Hearings Abramoff pled guilty to Conspiracy, Mail Fraud and Tax Evasion in Washington D.C. on January 3rd, 2006. He pled guilty to Conspiracy and Fraud in Miami, Florida on January 4th 2006 and was sentenced to five years and ten months in a federal prison. On November 21st, 2005, Scanlon pled guilty to a federal conspiracy charge, conspiring to bribe a member of Congress and other public officials, and agreed to pay restitution totaling more than $19 million to the tribes he scammed.This column has been edited for content and length from Internet Reports and articles – September 29th, 2004 Committee on Indian Affairs and the June 23rd, 2005 edition of THE HILL, The Newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress.NDNs UNITE and get out the Native Vote. You can make a difference! You can win! Don’t let the actions of greedy men like Abramoff and Scanlon deprive you of your fundamental right to go to the polls.

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