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Gonna Find Out Who’s Naughty or Nice

santa-winking.jpgWell, lookie here. According to the WaPo, guess who is negotiating a plea deal, just in time for lumps of coal in a whole lot of GOP stockings?

Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, facing trial on fraud charges Jan. 9 in Florida, is negotiating a possible deal with the Justice Department, in which he would agree to plead guilty and cooperate in the wide-ranging political corruption investigation focused on his dealings with members of Congress and executive branch officials, people familiar with the talks said last night.

Abramoff would provide testimony about numerous members of Congress and their staffs if he and the Justice Department reach an agreement, the sources said. Negotiations have been ongoing for several months, people knowledgeable about the discussions said, but pressure is mounting because of the pending trial.

Let’s see. By my count, that makes Scanlon and Kidan already plead and flipped, and Abramoff with a hook in his mouth so big that everything looks like it will be spilling out shortly.

All of this is putting a damper on the merriment of Christmas the holidays for the GOP establishment, according to the NYTimes.

What began as a limited inquiry into $82 million of Indian casino lobbying by Mr. Abramoff and his closest partner, Michael Scanlon, has broadened into a far-reaching corruption investigation of mainly Republican lawmakers and aides suspected of accepting favors in exchange for legislative work.

Prominent party officials, including the former House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, are under scrutiny involving trips and other gifts from Mr. Abramoff and his clients. The case has shaken the Republican establishment, with the threat of testimony from Mr. Abramoff, once a ubiquitous and well-connected Republican star, sowing anxiety throughout the party ranks.

Sucks when everyone is rushing to plant a knife in someone’s else’s back before one lands in their own, doesn’t it? And it isn’t just lawmakers in the crosshairs on this — it’s also current and former staffers and what prosecutors are calling "the wives’ club." Oh yeah, it’s a merry one alright.

Here’s a question, though, why is this leaking to so many news services all at once? In the WaPo story, Abramoff’s counsel refuses to comment on rumors that his financial situation has become precarious, due to the expenses of criminal defense on multiple fronts at once. Is Jackie Boy asking for some sheckels in exchange for…well, for silence? Or is that just a coinky-dink? Hmmm….

Speaking of sheckels, the AP has a doozy of a report on The Lifestyles of the Bought and Paid For, featuring our favorite GOP poster boy, Tommy DeLay. Whew — the Hammer is not going to be pleased about this one.

Public documents reviewed by The Associated Press tell the story: at least 48 visits to golf clubs and resorts with lush fairways; 100 flights aboard company planes; 200 stays at hotels, many world-class; and 500 meals at restaurants, some averaging nearly $200 for a dinner for two.

Instead of his personal expense, the meals and trips for DeLay and his associates were paid with donations collected by the campaign committees, political action committees and children’s charity the Texas Republican created during his rise to the top of Congress.

Did they say children’s charity? Tom DeLay was paying for his lavish lifestyle with children’s charity money? That doesn’t sound like the spirit of giving, now does it? But it does sound like a fiduciary responsibility problem, let alone a big issue for his upcoming re-election bid. Hmmmm…money laundering felony indictment, possible bribery and stealing from needy children? That sound you hear is someone’s poll numbers dropping.

And the House GOP is still holding his leadership post open? Is it me, or are you also sensing that Tommy Boy knows where a whole lot of skeletens are buried, and he won’t be going down without a fight. Oh man. I really have been a good girl this year.

"Hello, schadenfreude hotline? I need an emergency 24 pack, with an eggnog chaser."

UPDATE: This just in, as reported on MSNBC (via AP): Jeanne Pirro will be dropping out of the NY Senate race against Hillary Clinton tomorrow. She is expected to announce tomorrow that she will be running for AG of NY instead. Pressure from state Republicans played a big part in this, due to her troubled run thus far. No word on successor candidate as yet. Now back to our regularly scheduled schadenfreude.

UPDATE #2: Hat tip to GSD for the reminder on this vintage DeLay quote:

"The time has come that the American people know exactly what their Representatives are doing here in Washington. Are they feeding at the public trough, taking lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special interest groups? Or are they working hard to represent their constituents? The people, the American people, have a right to know… I say the best disinfectant is full disclosure, not isolation."
– U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, 11/16/95

Pot, this is kettle…

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com