Friday News Dump
Casino Jack strikes again:
Italia Federici, former head of a Republican environmental advocacy group, pleaded guilty Friday to tax evasion and obstructing a Senate investigation into the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
As part of her plea deal with the Justice Department, Federici agreed to provide information that people close to the case said could lead investigators to other officials in Congress and the Bush administration.
Abramoff, the once-powerful lobbyist at the center of a wide-ranging public corruption investigation, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison on March 29, after pleading guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials in a deal that required him to provide evidence about members of Congress.Federici admitted in court papers Friday she acted as a link between Abramoff and J. Steven Griles, a former deputy secretary at the Interior Department who for five years was her boyfriend.
Federici acknowledged that as Griles provided Abramoff with “advice and internal DOI information” _ both directly and through her _ she “hindered” the Interior Department’s system for tracking lobbyist contacts with Griles.
Griles also has pleaded guilty to lying to Senate investigators about his relationships with Abramoff and Federici.
Too bad Griles’ deal, as the highest ranking Bush Administration official to be caught up in the Abramoff net, does not require him to cooperate with investigators and their grand jury probes. As Steve Soto has noted, much of this does not pass the smell test.
And you have to wonder where Gale Norton was in all of this.