9/24/2005

Jack Abramoff, Karl Rove, Ohio and HAVA

Jack and Karl

The dubious 2004 elections, which returned Bush and Cheney to office, were conducted under provisions of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which had been shepherded through the Cheney-DeLay-controlled Congress. It is noteworthy that the author of the HAVA election law, Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney, is implicated with Abramoff and his partners.

When Abramoff sought to pressure Gus Boulis to relinquish ownership of SunCruz, Ney took to the floor of Congress to denounce Boulis as unfit to run his Florida company. After Abramoff took possession of SunCruz (and a $500,000 salary), but hadn't paid Boulis what he was owed, Ney spoke in Congress, praising Jack's partner Adam Kidan, now running SunCruz. Ney described him as a man of integrity, though Kidan was bankrupt, had been disbarred as an attorney, and was paying over $100,000 in SunCruz funds to Anthony Moscatiello, a man identified by law enforcement as an associate in the Gambino crime family and the bookkeeper of the gang's boss, John Gotti.

In the audacious Abramoff/Reed swindle of the Tigua Indians, Ney promised to insert into the HAVA law a clause reopening the Tigua casino. It was a political support deal worked out for Ney between Abramoff and the Indians. Though Ney did get Abramoff-steered contributions, Congress balked, and the Tigua clause was never added to HAVA.

Ney is known as a loyal and close associate of Presidential advisor Karl Rove, part of the Rove team that nailed the showdown state of Ohio in the filthy 2004 elections.

Rove himself has recently come under intense scrutiny, in connection with the felonious leaking of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a covert CIA officer (the Cheney team hit back at Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for discrediting their lies that started the Iraq War.)

Here again, the Abramoff indictment invites deeper inquiries that could help set off a rip-tide, pulling down the regime.

As the Bush-Cheney Administration began in 2001, Jack Abramoff was an official member of the Administration's transition team (for the Interior Department!). Abramoff recommended that Karl Rove should take, as his personal secretary, Susan B. Ralston, who was at the time the personal aide of Jack Abramoff. Ralston got the post as Rove's executive assistant, in charge of screening calls that went to Rove, and thus affecting access to the President.

When the Plame affair went before a Federal grand jury, Ralston was compelled to testify, and had to leave the job with Rove.

Salon online magazine reported that Ralston, while working for Rove, would call Grover Norquist to ask if callers should be put through to Rove; only if Norquist approved, would the call would go through.

So, anyone attempting to reach Karl Rove might have to pass through the Norquist-Abramoff channel.

President Bush has now nominated former White House lawyer Timothy Flanigan as Deputy Attorney General, one of the most powerful officials in the Justice Department. The Cheney team apparently hopes that Flanigan would have oversight and possible control over the Plame prosecution.

But the Flanigan nomination has run into a snag. It has been revealed that when Flanigan was general counsel for the Bermuda-based firm, Tyco International, he hired Abramoff to lobby against legislation that would have barred Federal contracts to companies like Tyco that are based in offshore tax havens. In 2003-04, Flanigan paid $1.7 million to Abramoff's lobbying firm and another $1.5 million to an Abramoff front company.

Abramoff reportedly told Flanigan that he would lobby Karl Rove about the matter.

Abramoff Indictment Makes Bush Regime a Fat Target

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