GOP Pulls Off Corruption Trifecta
by Scott Shields, Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 12:24:22 PM EDT
The charges stem from the 2000 purchase by Abramoff and his partners of SunCruz Casinos and the alleged use of a fake wire transfer to defraud two lenders out of some $60 million to finance the deal, according to a federal law enforcement official.
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The partners bought SunCruz, which runs a fleet of gambling boats, from entrepreneur Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis for $147 million in September 2000, but the deal soon fell apart. Amid bitter legal fighting over the sale, Boulis was shot to death five months later in 2001 what police called a hit. The Fort Lauderdale killing has never been solved.
The indictment against Abramoff was expected to charge that he used income from SunCruz to finance political fund-raising activities, including events at private boxes at Washington-area sports venues such as the MCI Center and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the officials said.
James Tobin, the president's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, is charged in New Hampshire federal court with four felonies accusing him of conspiring with a state GOP official and a GOP consultant in Virginia to jam Democratic and labor union get-out-the-vote phone banks in November 2002.
A telephone firm was paid to make repeated hang-up phone calls to overwhelm the phone banks in New Hampshire and prevent them from getting Democratic voters to the polls on Election Day 2002, prosecutors allege. Republican John Sununu won a close race that day to be New Hampshire's newest senator.
At the time, Tobin was the RNC's New England regional director, before moving to President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.
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Since charges were first filed in December, the RNC has spent more than $722,000 to provide Tobin, who has pleaded innocent, a team of lawyers from the high-powered Washington law firm of Williams & Connolly.
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The FEC found that ARMPAC misreported receipts and the ending cash balance for 2001 activities and the beginning cash-on-hand, receipts, disbursements and ending cash-on-hand for 2002.
ARMPAC also failed to report $322,306 owed to 25 vendors. ARMPAC disclosed the debts in amended reports, the FEC said.
I have a strong feeling that what we're seeing here is the tip of a massive iceburg of corruption that's been growing in the Republican Party for years. If reform is not one of the main rallying cries for the Democratic Party in next year's midterms, I'll be very disappointed.
For more information on Abramoff, Tobin, and ARMPAC, Josh Marshall's work at Talking Points Memo is not to be beat.