Abramoff Associate Was a ‘Corrupter,’ Not a Lobbyist, Prosecutors Tell Jury
By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Federal prosecutors told jurors Friday that Kevin Ring, an associate of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s, lavished meals and tickets on lawmakers and public officials in the hopes of illegally influencing them.
“He was a lobbyist in name but a corruptor in reality,” said Nathaniel B. Edmonds, a Justice Department prosecutor. “Ring is the sugar daddy, giving out the goodies to public officials over and over again.”
. . . They said Ring gave lawmakers and officials gifts and tough-to-get tickets to concerts by such popular performers as U2, Paul McCartney and the Dave Matthews Band.
. . .
At one point, Ring gave tickets to concerts and the Wizards to a Justice Department official in the hopes of boosting government funding for a client, an Indian tribe, that wanted to build a jail in Mississippi. It worked, prosecutors said.
Ring told other lobbyists to “thank your friends on the Hill and in the Administration.”
“In fact, thank them over and over this week — preferably for long periods of time and at expensive establishments,” he added. “Thank them until it hurts — and until we have a June bill that reflects the fact our client is about to get a $16.3 million check from the Department of Justice!!!”
Concerts and the Wizards? He’s on trial for concert and sports tickets?
Senator Chuck Schumer ‘raised’ $15 million for the 2008 election cycle alone–in cash. Schumer, of course, is not on trial. That’s because Schumer and his co-conspirators in the House and Senate have made it legal to pocket cash in such amounts that representative legislative activity has come to mean corporate legislative activity.
In order to get out of the feed-trough and back into representing the people who elected them, congress would have to change the laws that put the feed in the trough. Anyone care to hang by the thumbs until that happens?
A case in point is health care costs. The Congress wails about the cost of Obama’s plan–perhaps 9/10ths of a trillion over ten years.
Where will we get the money?
We’ve thrown 7-9 trillion at Wall Street already, most of it in ‘guarantees’ to cap costs that have not yet occurred.
(Reminder) there is still $60 trillion out there in worthless credit-default swaps that AIG profited enormously from and you and I will have to cover.
(Reminder) George Bush gave away $4 trillion in tax gifts to the guys who profited so hugely by wrecking the world economy.
(Reminder) they are still out there, dreaming up new schemes–the latest is buying life insurance policies from the elderly, packaging them in derivatives and selling them as investments to the same poor boobs who bought crappy home-loan derivatives.
There’s currently $26 trillion available to be plucked from grandma and grandpa’s life insurance.
Nobody watches that because there’s enough money to go around, including to Congress to look the other way.
It’s a no-no to counsel the old folks on end-of-life options, but perfectly wonderful to fleece the surviving spouse out of his or her insurance.
And Kevin Ring may go to jail for dinners and concert-tickets?
The vengeful-right is marching around Washington, bitching and complaining over budget deficits caused by the vengeful right.
We have lost our way, folks.