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Jack Abramoff: The lobbyist's playbook
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CBS News 60 Minutes


CBS News 60 Minutes, November 6, 2011
Posted: November 29th, 2011
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57319075/jack-abramoff...

Jack Abramoff may be the most notorious and crooked lobbyist of our time. He became a master at showering gifts on lawmakers in return for their votes on legislation. Five years ago ... Jack Abramoff pled guilty ... and served three and a half years in prison. Abramoff: I think most congressmen don't feel they're being bought. [They] can in their own mind justify the system. The "best way" to get a congressional office ... was to offer a staffer a job that could triple his salary. The moment I [offered] that to them ... we owned them. Most of the people ... on Capitol Hill wanted ... to be lobbyists. Republican Congressman Bob Ney was ambitious and looked at Abramoff as a way to build alliances with the White House and the majority leader. Neil Volz, his former chief of staff, by then a lobbyist for Abramoff .. asked Ney to insert some language into a reform bill that would give a backdoor license to an Indian casino. Abramoff: We crafted language that was so obscure ... but so precise to change the U.S. code. "Public law 100-89 is amended by striking section 207 101 stat. 668, 672." Members don't read the bills. Ney: It was a great big shell game. Ney would eventually serve 17 months in federal prison, the only congressman who was ever charged. But Abramoff says that there were many other members that did his bidding that could have been charged. Abramoff: I'm talking about giving a gift to somebody who makes a decision on behalf of the public. That's really what bribery is. But it is done everyday. There were very few members who ... didn't at some level participate in that. Our system is flawed and has to be fixed. He says the most important thing that needs to be done is to prohibit members of Congress and their staff from ever becoming lobbyists in Washington.

Note: To watch this incredibly revealing interview, click here. For a powerful, six-minute analysis of legalized corruption based on Abramoff's comments, click here. A petty thief steals three times for a total value of a few thousand dollars and by the "three strikes" law ends up in jail for life. Abramoff, along with his assistants, successfully corrupt U.S. Senators and Congress members and serve less than four years in jail. Many get off with no jail time. Is the US justice system biased towards the rich?


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