Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Man Who Took Down Jack Abramhoff

Here's an excellent article on the man who took down Jack Abramoff. Who will be out of prison in 2 years. Wonder what his book will have in it?

He was instrumental in shining the light on one of Washington’s biggest scandals. He made Jack Abramoff a household name. But few know who he is.

Tom Rodgers preferred to operate strategically behind the scenes as he played a leading role in taking down the most notorious lobbyist on K Street. But now, in an interview with The Hill, he has decided to go public with his story.

We watched this all unfold and we remained quiet,” he said. “At that time, we were stereotyped as ignorant and greedy Indians. But we knew different … we knew the time to tell this story wasn’t then.”

For years, speculation about the Abramoff whistleblower has focused on the supposed revenge of a former fiancee of Michael Scanlon, Abramoff’s right-hand man. Others suspected Republican lobbyists jealous of the enormous fees Abramoff collected from Indian tribes.

But some of the very tribes Abramoff deceived and defrauded turned on him and worked to destroy him — with the help of Rodgers, a trusted fellow Native American familiar with the ways of Washington.

For nearly eight years Rodgers has remained cloaked in anonymity as the Justice Department pursued its case. He watched and quietly celebrated with the tribal leaders who helped provide the inside information as the impact of the scandal spiraled.

It landed Abramoff and former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) in prison, helped force then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) from office and played a key role in Democrats taking back the majority in the House and Senate in 2006. In the aftermath, Congress passed the most sweeping new ethics rules since Watergate.

Read more here but an interesting comment from Pechanga's Anthony Miranda:

In the opening address to the conference, Anthony Miranda, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association and a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, said he fears the scandal may close the doors of Congress to gambling and non-gambling tribes that want their issues heard.

“The same people who want to take away our rights are those who will use the disgraceful acts of … Abramoff to advance their cause,” Miranda said. “This man violated the trust of members of Congress, Indian tribes, banks, major corporations and charitable organizations.”

Miranda said Indian tribes should consider bypassing Washington’s legendary K Street lobbying establishment, saying: “Now, more than ever, it is vital, absolutely vital, that tribal leaders be the ones to walk the halls of Congress themselves.”

And yet, we know that Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro, and his current wife have had dinner with Abramoff. The Saginaw tribe is also mentioned in the article, one the Cherokee has linked with disenrollments in a post earlier last month. I wonder what the topic of dinner was. Mr. Macarro, care to answer that for us?


Anonymous said...

Isnt this the same tribe who has a leader that says what happens at Pechanga is no business of the white man?...yet they are the ones who should be "walking the halls of Congress"...and what makes them any different than Abramoff??..promising voters that they needed the Casinos to take care of poor tribe members ..then as soon as they get the money starting to pour in, they rip it away from people that had been in the tribe forever only to fatten up their own pockets!!
California needs to wake up and stop these crooks before its too late...does the State own the roads going into the Casino?...maybe they could do another road improvement and close the road for awhile making it hard to get into the seems the only thing the tribal leaders understand is money!!

OPechanga said...

Maybe we can have pickets up when they hold the leadership meeting in June.

stand your ground said...

I told you it was a good story to read {my comment Apr.30} on
Congress to look into Enforcement of ICRA.
Glad you posted it here.That man is a Hero.
I can only imagine the conversation at dinner between Abramoff and Pechanga's corrupt Mark Macarro, maybe something like this,
ABRAMOFF: How much money are you willing to "donate" to get what you need me to do?

ecmullen said...

The tribes have every right to "play the game" just like every one else. The crime is the way they were lied to and cheated.