Friday, December 03, 2004

Trouble in River City

Please indulge Pastor Moose as he ascends to the bully pulpit to deliver an extended sermon on the evils of gambling.

The Moose notes that the party of values apparently got its money worth from shaking down Indian tribes. On occasion, the Moose has mentioned the extraordinary Indian gambling scandal. It is a complex, Byzantine and sordid tale of Tom Delay cronies Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, the White House and upwards to $70 million. It is stuff of fiction and involves a cast of characters who progressives love to loathe. It is possibly of the magnitude of a modern Teapot Dome Scandal.

Today, the Washington Post editorializes on another element of the caper. Another DeLay ally, Congressman Robert Ney of Ohio was apparently doing the bidding of the tribes while he was benefiting from their largesse,

"Mr. Abramoff enlisted Mr. Ney in the Tigua cause in March 2002. Mr. Ney was the lead House sponsor of a pending election reform bill, and the plan was to slip a casino-reopening provision into that unrelated measure. "Just met with Ney!!! We're f'ing gold!!!! He's going to do Tigua," Mr. Abramoff e-mailed Mr. Scanlon on March 20. Six days later Mr. Abramoff told the tribe it needed to come up with contributions for the congressman.

The tribe anted up, becoming by far Mr. Ney's biggest contributor that election cycle. It gave $3,000 to his campaign committee ($2,000 more than permitted at the time), $5,000 to his leadership political action committee and $25,000 to the PAC's "soft money" arm, which was set up just in time to take the Tiguas' check."

But, as all Mooseketeers are aware, a hard working Congressman sometimes must unwind and relax - so funds were made available for Mr. Ney's comfort,

"In addition, the week that Mr. Ney's involvement in the Tigua matter was revealed at a Senate hearing, his campaign belatedly amended its campaign finance reports for 2002 and 2003 to reflect in-kind contributions for events at MCI Center, where Mr. Abramoff had a box."

Of course, the very righteous Mr. Ney, a leader of the Party of the Judeo-Christian ethic would never be susceptible to do favors for money, would he?

"But what explains Mr. Ney's devotion to the Tigua cause? The tribe isn't from Mr. Ney's state, let alone his district. The committees he sits on have nothing to do with the subject. (In fact, he chairs the committee that oversees campaign finance laws.) Early on, Messrs. Abramoff and Scanlon told the Tigua that they would have to pay $300,000 in campaign contributions to underwrite what the lobbyists called "Operation Open Doors." At least in Mr. Ney's case the operation may have been a success."

Oh, the Moose is so disillusioned by the apparent misbehavior of the righteous ones. Mammon, greed and even prostitution prevailing in the Capital ruled by those who are devoted to the Lord? What's next? Conservative talk show hosts hooked on drugs? Rampant divorce threatening the sanctity of marriage? This from today's Washington Times,

"A Christian Coalition of America ex-official's lawsuit for $123,500 in unpaid compensation has put nepotism of the coalition's president and the acrimonious divorce of her daughter center stage in Virginia courts."

Pastor Moose implores his parishioners to reject the solicitations of Satan!

Now, returning to the gambling matter - one of the Moose's favorite publications, the Texas Observer, has published a marvelous piece on this toxic tale by the author of a recent biography on the Bug Man, Lou Dubose. This piece titled K Street Croupiers How Two of Tom DeLay's Players Beat the House at the Grand Coushatta Casino is mandatory reading for all who aspire to inquire on the devilish doings here in sin city. Consider the opening passage to wet your appetite,

" On May 9, 2001, Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff did President George W. Bush a small favor by directing a modest sum of money to Grover Norquist. Norquist was bringing a group of Republican state legislators to the White House to sell them Bush’s proposed tax cuts. He decided to use the event to make a little money for his organization, Americans for Tax Reform. So he had Abramoff ask two of his American Indian clients for $25,000 each for the privilege of meeting the president. This money ATR raised at the White House three years ago is a small part of a big scandal involving Abramoff, his partner Mike Scanlon, six Indian tribes, $66 million in questionable lobbying fees, and millions of dollars in political contributions.
"Also entangled in the scandal is House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose Washington “network” was offered to Indian casino clients by Abramoff and Scanlon, if the tribes would hire them. DeLay is the only member of Congress associated with Abramoff and Scanlon’s extensive casino tribe dealings. After DeLay used his leadership position to kill a bill that would have taxed Indian casinos, Abramoff and Scanlon used their access to “the Leader” to attract Indian casino clients. (Neither of the two men seemed to have any interest in Indian tribes that did not have casinos.) The Louisiana tribe that paid almost half of the lobbying fees collected by Abramoff and Scanlon contributed more to DeLay’s political action committee than they did to any other member of Congress in 2002. Because of his close ties with the two men, DeLay is the only member of Congress whose conduct has been questioned in an ongoing Senate committee investigation of the lobbying scandal. Other federal and state agencies are investigating the two men as well."

To understand this story is to comprehend how Washington works in the DeLay Era (D.E.). The Moose cautions, however, that the viewer should be warned that the information contained on the link above is quite graphic for the ethically squeamish.

But, Pastor Moose reminds his devoted flock - we must comprehend the maniacal ways of Satan in order to proceed on the righteous path.

Will somebody please say ... Amen!
-- Posted at 9:10 AM | Link to this post | Email this post