Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Following The Abramoff Money -- And It Didn't Go To Democrats

When the media was actually able to tear themselves away from the West Virginia mining accident long enough to cover anything else for a moment or two yesterday, they would invariable turn to the Jack Abramoff guilty plea and, in many cases, imply or say directly that Abramoff was a bipartisan crook who gave to both major political parties.

To check out this assertion, I spent hours poring over Federal Election Commission filings via Political Money Line and Newsmeat and have found that the mainstream media is amazingly incorrect.

An analysis of all donations under Jack Abramoff's name or by his wife, Pamela – who donates under "Pam," "Pamela" and "Mrs. Jack Abramoff" – since 1977 and through January 2, 2006, shows that they made a total of $338,418 in political contributions. Of that, $204,000 went to individual political candidates, while $134,000 went to Political Action Committees (PACs).

Of the $204,000 that went to people running for the House and Senate, not one dime went to a Democrat. Yes, that's correct – 100 percent of Abramoff's personal donations went to Republican candidates or, in an extremely isolated case, he gave $750 to Howard Phillips of Virginia to run for something or other on the Constitution Party platform in the mid 1990s.

Other than that, it was all GOP money. Who were the biggest piglets at that trough? Little Tom DeLay picked up a cool $15,000, or over seven percent of the total all by himself. Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA), who Tom DeLay made one of his lieutenants a couple of years ago, snagged $13,000 and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) took almost $10,000 over the last 10 years.

No wonder when Rohrabacher, who has been frequently linked to Abramoff, was asked about being used as a financial reference in Abramoff's purchase of the Suncruz casino cruise line, he said " "I don't remember it, but I would certainly have been happy to give him a good recommendation. He's a very honest man."

Well, I guess that's true by Republican standards.

Abramoff also gives generously to PACs, which our analysis shows may have cheated the admitted crook, as a couple of them actually slipped up and gave a tiny bit of money to Democrats. In an examination of all PACs receiving money from Abramoff since 1980 and looking at how each of those groups allocates their total funds, I found that, of millions and millions of dollars, almost all of it goes to GOP candidates.

And you really have to hunt for the exceptions. For example, the relatively small Arena PAC gave $1,000 to Representative Joe Baca (D-CA) and, in the 1990s, gave a total of about $1,500 to Congressman Ralph Hall (D-TX). Don't know how that happened but, even so, it only amounted to two percent of all the money given by that PAC – the rest went to Republicans.

Likewise, Newstar PAC and the Preston Gates Ellis PAC – both of which have gotten generous donations from Abramoff -- have given about 15 percent and 40 percent of their money, respectively, to Democrats.

So whether it's direct donations -- of which Democrats have received nothing -- or indirect PAC money, which has only been given to a few Democrats in miniscule amounts, there's not much of a personal connection between Abramoff and the Democratic party.

Sorry, mainstream media.

If you would like to look at how the personal Abramoff money has been allocated over the years, I've set up a little web page here with all the details. It's interesting reading -- he even donated to Oliver North's Senate campaign. Remember him?

Now, that's no guarantee that a couple of Democrats won't also be swept up as partners in crime when people starting looking under the hood of the Abramoff money machine and examining where the millions he's bilked from others have gone – but I seriously doubt it.

This guy's never given money directly to a Democrat in his life and, for a crook like him, why hang with Democrats when there are so many of his own kind to buddy up to on the Republican side of the aisle?

And, by the way, Sourcewatch says that Abramoff raised over $100,000 for President Bush's re-election campaign and even became a coveted " Bush Pioneer" in the process.

I'm sure, given yesterday's developments, that Bush will be giving that money back any day now. Won't he?