Thursday, January 19, 2006

Gingrich and the Need for Reform

The hypocrisy of former and current Republicans in Washington who pretend to be pushing for reform seems to know no bounds. Newt Gingrich, who had his own ethics problems while House Speaker, would like us to believe he is the logical man to bring about reform. I was roaming The San Francisco Chronicle and found this old article from January 16 1998:
As Microsoft stepped up its lobbying, last year it hired former U.S. Representative Vin Weber, a Minnesota Republican who is one of House Speaker Newt Gingrich's closest allies, to open doors for the company in Congress.

For the past two years Microsoft has also retained another well-known Gingrich ally, Grover Norquist, and former Reagan campaign aide Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds.
It should be understood that Microsoft was paying for legally accepted services on both sides of the aisle and the article goes on to mention where Microsoft went for Democratic connections. But with the financial resources available to Microsoft, we can be reasonably certain they were buying the best services money could buy. It would be useful to hire lobbyists with the best access to people like Gingrich who was Speaker of the House at the time and other prominent Republicans like Tom DeLay. Notice that Weber and Norquist are tied in this article directly to Gingrich. The article points out that Microsoft's ties to Jack Abramoff went back at least to 1996. This is evidence that Abramoff was already a well-known lobbyist, thus contradicting many Republicans in Washington, including possibly Gingrich, who have developed amnesia.

As Media Matters points out, the Abramoff scandal is a Republican scandal:
Moreover, a May 1, 2005, New York Times Magazine profile of Abramoff by Michael Crowley detailed his extensive ties to the GOP, cultivated throughout his lobbying career. The article refers to Abramoff as "a kingpin of Republican Washington." Crowley writes: "His former personal assistant had gone to work for Karl Rove, the new president's top political adviser; he was close friends with the powerful Republican congressman from Texas, Tom DeLay, a relationship most of his competitors would kill to boast of," and referred to "countless fund-raisers he gave for Republican congressmen and senators." According to the article, Abramoff's first lobbying employer, Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, hired him because of his ties to powerful Republicans like DeLay: "Upon his hire, the firm's news release boasted of Abramoff's ties to Ralph Reed's Christian Coalition, the Republican National Committee and top House Republican leaders."
I've highlighted the most relevant part in bold type to make it clear where Abramoff's connections were. It was these connections he was selling for a living.

Mentioned above for his connections to Newt Gingrich is Grover Norquist who has a long time relationship with Abramoff as stated in this article that originally appeared in the New York Times:
Abramoff's plea bargain is scary to Washington's power brokers because he was so entangled with so many of them.

His ties to Grover Norquist, a leading conservative strategist and president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Ralph Reed, the former director of the Christian Coalition who is now a candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, date from his college days.


Anonymous American Pundit said...

Great job pointing out the hypocrisy. At the same time, this is a good opportunity to push through meaningful reforms with the help of a suddenly contrite Republican Party.

2:21 AM  

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