Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Harry and Jack: Closer than you think

While magazines like the AMERICAN PROSPECT are paying money for analyses that paint the Abramoff scandal as purely Republican, the ASSOCIATED PRESS and KLAS TV are reporting the news:

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid wrote at least four letters helpful toIndian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff, and the senator's staff regularly had contact with the disgraced lobbyist's team about legislationaffecting other clients.

The activities -- detailed in billing records and correspondence obtained by The Associated Press -- are far more extensive than previously disclosed.They occurred over three years as Reid collected nearly $68,000 in donationsfrom Abramoff's firm, lobbying partners and clients.
(Emphasis ours.)

As we show again and again in our forthcoming book, Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime and Corruption in the Democratic Party, Democrats have for decades repeatedly and audaciously tried to tar Republicans with the brush of scandal while spitting feathers from their own mouths. They did it in Monica-gate ("Henry Hyde had an affair 30 years ago! Ignore what that man behind the curtain is doing with an intern and a cigar!"). They did it in Whitewater ("Ken Starr's the real villain!"). And they did it in Chinagate, pole-dancing for Red Chinese cash then crying out for campaign finance reform.

Now they're doing it again:

Reid, D-Nev., has led the Democratic Party's attacks portraying Abramoff's lobbying and fundraising as a Republican scandal. But Abramoff's records show his lobbying partners billed for nearly two dozen phone contacts or meetings with Reid's office in 2001 alone.

Most were to discuss Democratic legislation that would have applied the U.S.minimum wage to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory and Abramoff client, but would have given the islands a temporary break on the wage rate,the billing records show. Reid also intervened on government matters at least five times in ways helpful to Abramoff's tribal clients, once opposing legislation on theSenate floor and four times sending letters pressing the Bush administration on tribal issues. Reid collected donations around the time of each action.

There appear to be two scandals in play here: Republican and Democratic lawmakers' ties to the scoundrel Abramoff and Democrats' continuing pattern of treating the American people like they're stupid.

- VINCENT