Guest blogged by David Edwards
Last week, über-lobbyist Jack Abramoff's former partner Michael Scanlon pleaded guilty. As part of the plea deal, Scanlon admitted that he conspired to bribe public officials and defrauded several Indian casinos of millions of dollars. Scanlon has agreed to cooperate with the prosecution and pay restitution in the amount of $19 million.
Yesterday, on the Sunday talk shows, they were abuzz about the spectre of a scandal which threatens to overwhelm Washington. We've got a video compilation below.
U.S. News & World Report has learned that Scanlon is now the star witness "in a probe that threatens to ensnare officials throughout the nation's capital." A source reports that the scandal could take out a least a dozen in Congress.
John McCain is leading the senate investigation into Abramoff which has been also linked to the anti-government crusader Grover Norquist. According to an article in the Boston Globe, Norquist is now attacking McCain.
After ATR turned over its e-mails, Norquist charged, McCain tried to ''steal our donor list."
Norquist then accused McCain and Senator Byron L. Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, of discrimination by targeting lobbyists who worked for Native American tribes. Abramoff and his partners collected $82 million in fees from Indian tribes and their casinos over four years.
When we asked the senator's staff for a comment on Norquist's fusillade against McCain, his chief of staff, Mark Salter, had a lot to say. "In Norquist's world, the truth is for suckers. And it's as pointless to respond to him as it would be to respond to some street-corner schizophrenic," Salter responded.
We've put together clips of discussions on the GOP's Abramoff scandal from this Sunday's editions of ABC's This Week and Fox News Sunday. All the pundits seem to agree that this investigation could become a big problem for Republicans.
(If anyone feels like typing up a partial transcript, let me know, and I'll post it here.)