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Politics
Jack Abramoff breaks silence on lobbying scandal


Disgraced lobbyist is finally talking about the scandal that has brought his Washington, D.C., empire down -- but it's not to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment there.

Instead, Abramoff gave interviews to Time Magazine and The New York Times. In both, he refused to discuss specific allegations of the investigation or to talk about House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who is facing an ethics inquiry over his ties to Abramoff.

Abramoff, however, does talk about his use of "locker room" language in e-mails about his tribal clients. However, he claims that he never actually referred to them as "idiots," "troglodytes" and "monkeys" -- he says those were terms for people "attacking my clients."

''That's probably the thing that hurts me the most about all this," he tells The New York Times. "It's just so opposite of who I am.''

And he attempts to explain how the Tigua Tribe of Texas got ensnared in a $4.2 million scheme. He admits he worked with Christian activist Ralph Reed on an anti-gaming campaign in Texas, but says the effort was against the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe's casino near Houston -- the Tiguas in El Paso were merely "collateral damage," according to The Times.

He blames Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) for reneging on a deal to put a rider in an elections reform bill that would have reopened the Tigua Tribe's casino. He claims Dodd "said yes -- and then all of a sudden, he changed!'' and that Ney's denials to the media about the plan are "crazy." Ney "was on the phone [with the Tiguas] for an hour and a half!'' he says.

The Senate will hold another hearing into the scandal next month.

Get the Story:
Jack in a Box (Time Magazine 5/2)
A Lobbyist in Full (The New York Times 5/2)
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Abramoff Breaks Silence About Investigations (The Washington Post 5/1)
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Abramoff defends actions (The Morning Sun 5/1)

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