In fact, Jack Abramoff, the former Republican lobbyist, got four years in prison in the corruption scandal that ensnared him and several public officials, including members of Congress and some aides. He was sentenced in federal court here Thursday, dressed, according to the Associated Press, in much more modest garb than this:
Among those who have pleaded guilty in the lobbying scandal that rocked Washington was John Albaugh, who was chief of staff to former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook. Albaugh is cooperating with the ongoing investigation and is now due to be sentenced in April for his own misdeeds _ helping secure road projects for clients of Abramoff’s lobbying firm in exchange for a stream of gifts, including meals and concert tickets.
Before he was sentenced, Abramoff wrote a letter to the judge:
In it, he says: “So much of what happens in Washington stretches the envelope, skirts the spirit of the rules, and lives in the loopholes. But even by those standards, I blundered farther than even those excesses would allow.”
But according to the Associated Press, Abramoff , who has been helping the Justice Department nail people who worked with him, has also been cooperating with another project _ a book that makes him out to be a victim of the Washington Post, which did a series of articles on his “work,” and Sen. John McCain, who was chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee and investigated Abramoff’s dealings with Indian tribes.
However, at least two tribal leaders believe it was their tribes, and not Abramoff, that were victimized. The New York Times reported today that Bernie Sprague, of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe in Michigan, and David Sickey of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana told the judge that Abramoff had exploited their tribes.
Besides charging the tribes for lobbying and consulting work, Abramoff also directed them to donate to lawmakers and their political action committees (PACs). Istook, a Republican who represented the Oklahoma City area, formed a PAC that got thousands of dollars from Abramoff and tribes that were clients of his. Istook donated the Abramoff-tainted money to charity after the scandal broke.
Istook has said that he is not a target of the probe but that he has been questioned by the FBI.