Sunday Video: The intersection of “fiscal cliff” and “moral hazard”
Let’s hop into the way back machine for 2005 and fast forward to 2009 beginning with Bushie era lobbyist Jack Abramoff, profiled by 60 minutes a bit over a year ago in a bit of must see TeeVee. Before I get to that let’s visit with Abramoff’s Wiki entry:
Jack A. Abramoff (/ˈeɪbrəmɒf/; born February 28, 1958) is an American former lobbyist, businessman, movie producer, and writer. He was at the heart of an extensive corruption investigation that led to his conviction and to 21 persons either pleading guilty or being found guilty, including White House officials J. Steven Griles and David Safavian, U.S. Representative Bob Ney, and nine other lobbyists and Congressional aides.
Abramoff was College Republican National Committee National Chairman from 1981 to 1985, a founding member of the International Freedom Foundation, allegedly financed by apartheid South Africa,and served on the board of directors of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank. From 1994 to 2001 he was a top lobbyist for the firm of Preston Gates & Ellis, and then forGreenberg Traurig until March 2004.
After a guilty plea in the Indian lobbying scandal and his dealings with SunCruz Casinos in January 2006, he was sentenced to six years in federal prison for mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and tax evasion. He served 43 months before being released on December 3, 2010.
Another of those 21 people that was ensnared in the scandal was Senator Thad Cochran senate staffer Ann Copeland, who sold out for a few of Abramoff’s peanuts. Copeland’s name appeared one time on Slabbed as it related to the Talon Group in connection with the Mark St Pierre trial.
So with all the yammering about fiscal cliffs and associated BS emanating from Washington DC I pulled Abramoff outta “drafts”, where he has been languishing for months. Here is a snippet from Lesley Stahl’s interview with him that makes the entire 14 minute segment worth watching:
Stahl: Can you quantify how much it costs to corrupt a congressman?
Abramoff: I was actually thinking of writing a book – “The Idiot’s Guide to Buying a Congressman” – as a way to put this all down. First, I think most congressmen don’t feel they’re being bought. Most congressmen, I think, can in their own mind justify the system.
Abramoff: –rationalize it and by the way we wanted as lobbyists for them to feel that way.