Heist: Superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, His Republican Allies, and the Buying of Washington

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9780374299316: Heist: Superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, His Republican Allies, and the Buying of Washington
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The Indian-casino scandal has torn the veil off the Republican Party’s conservative power base, revealing parts of the Washington lobbying community and GOP establishment where greed, arrogance, and corruption seem to have run amok.  At the center of this drama is the larger-than-life super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, onetime B-movie producer, with deep ties to Republican heavyweights like the embattled Republican power broker Tom DeLay, Congressman Bob Ney, former head of the Christian Coalition Ralph Reed, influential anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, and others with links to the Bush administration. Abramoff, working with public relations whiz Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay aid, bilked several Indian tribes of tens of millions of dollars in fees and bought influence in Congress. The federal corruption probe into Abramoff's lobbying has already produced indictments and seperate guilty pleas by Abramoff and Scanlon to charges that they conspired to bribe public officials and defrauded four Indian tribes. More charges are expected to follow in a scandal that has tarred many powerful Washington insiders, and which the New York Times has called "potentially one of the most explosive in Congressional history." The scandal is front-page news and will continue to be as the midterm election campaigns of 2006 heat up. But Stone digs behind the headlines to capture fully a riveting tale of our time: an inside-Washington drama driven by outsized personalities and the toxic mix of money and power.

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About the Author:

Peter Stone, a writer for the National Journal, was one of the first reporters on this story and has been following it closely since it broke in 2004. This is his first book.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this absorbing exposé, journalist Stone rakes through every bit of Abramoff muck, from his role as producer of the Dolph Lundgren thriller Red Scorpion to his efforts to shield Marianas Islands sweatshops from labor regulations and minimum-wage laws. In his ripest scam, Abramoff took Indian casinos for millions, largely to help quash rival gambling establishments; in one masterstroke, he lobbied to get the Tigua tribe's casino reopened—after secretly organizing the campaign that shut it down. No mere opportunist, Stone contends, Abramoff became "financial godfather to a conservative influence machine" and "indispensable bagman" to GOP stalwarts like Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed—who almost outsleazed Abramoff by organizing Christian antigambling crusades while collecting millions from Abramoff's tribal casino clients (and recently lost a Republican primary in Georgia perhaps because of this hypocrisy). Stone's sometimes repetitive account traces the labyrinthine routes—the charity front groups, the golf junkets—by which Abramoff funneled money to lawmakers and translated that influence into policy. The details can be eye glazing—as they were designed to be—but Stone keeps the story comprehensible while sprinkling in quotes from Abramoff's e-mails ("those moronic Tiguas... I'd love us to get our mitts on their moolah") that showcase his irrepressible grubbiness. The result is a troubling but colorful portrait of business as usual in Washington. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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