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Opinion
Column: Jack Abramoff's Choctaw Nation


"Is Jack "I don't want sniper letterhead" Abramoff, the paleface Republican lobbyist whose fleecing of the Mississippi Choctaw alone will earn him a permanent place in the history of Washington chicanery (though not, alas, his desired sobriquet, "Scholar of Talmudic Studies")—is this high-school contemporary of mine a phenomenon unto himself? I submit that he is not. Spectacular as his achievements may be (click here and here for the latest tranche of Abramoff collectibles), Abramoff is but a leading indicator.

We may chuckle with contempt at the unwary Native Americans who let Abramoff take them to the cleaners, but Abramoff is only one lobbyist—one of the comparatively modest 16,342 registered lobbyists in business before Dubya moved from Austin to D.C. He is not one of the registered lobbyists who doubled that fraternity's ranks to 34,785 between 2000 and 2005. We have all of us allowed private toll booths to be placed in front of every road leading to Washington and watched the proceeds pour into the pockets of private individuals who in many cases are selling friendships acquired through what was supposed to be public service.

I'd like to see one of these supposed corporate titans take the message public:

I hereby resign from Jack Abramoff's Choctaw Nation. From this day forth I will stop all corporate expenditures, official and unofficial, aimed at influencing Washington decision-makers. I will lobby no more forever."

Get the Story:
Timothy Noah: We Are All Choctaw (Slate 6/23)

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