Broadening the Abramoff Investigation

by TChris

The Justice Department has been tight-lipped about its year long investigation of Jack Abramoff, which has apparently “focused until now on accusations that Mr. Abramoff defrauded Indian tribes who paid him millions of dollars in lobbying fees on behalf of their gambling operations.” The Republican chair and senior Democrat on the House Resources Committee have asked the Department to expand the investigation to include “a flurry of accusations of wrongdoing involving Mr. Abramoff’s multimillion-dollar lobbying on behalf of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

Assuming the Justice Department accepts that invitation, will its efforts have an impact on Tom DeLay?

The Resources Committee request could suggest new scrutiny for Mr. DeLay, because he worked closely with Mr. Abramoff for years to block Washington from imposing the federal minimum wage on large clothing factories in the Northern Marianas.

[Representative George] Miller, who has been calling for months for the committee to investigate Mr. Abramoff and his lobbying for the islands, said in an interview that Mr. DeLay should be worried by the possibility of a criminal investigation of Mr. Abramoff's activities on behalf of the Northern Marianas.

A lengthy profile of Abramoff's lobbying techniques--including the steak dinners he gave away to DeLay and other power brokers at his expensive Washington restaurant--appears in today's NY Times.

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