Abramoff Scandal | Opinion

Column: An apology to parasites for Jack Abramoff comparison





"In the middle of the aughts, you’ll remember, Republicans had run basically every branch of elected federal government, and George W. Bush had just won re-election over a John Kerry. At the time, a lobbying scandal was just starting to unfold that would paint a picture of government for sale, with a cheap crook named Jack Abramoff at its center.

The scandal would reach right into the heart of Isabella County. Abramoff took money from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to construct a voter database that ultimately helped pass a constitutional amendment limiting gaming in Michigan. He took, if memory serves, more than a million, which according to one expert in the field of voter databases could be had for around $10,000. While doing so, Abramoff cast the Tribe’s then-chief as a Neanderthal in e-mails he swapped with his Beltway buddies. He ripped off the Tribe, and did so while holdings its members in thinly veiled, bigoted scorn.

At the time, I wrote a couple of columns about the scandal, and referred to Abramoff as a parasite and lower than pond scum. Well, I’ve learned a lot since then, and I was unfair. Parasites, I’ve learned, can not only play critical roles in local biological communities, but have a diversity to them that is to be admired. It was wrong of me to equate them to Jack Abramoff."

Get the Story:
ERIC BAERREN: Casino Jack's back; what's his game? (The Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun 1/5)

Also Today:
Convicted Lobbyist Abramoff Tells Lawmakers to Be Wary of Money (Bloomberg News 1/5)