Inside the Corrupt World of Washington Lobbyists
Ex-D.C. insider Jack Abramoff exposes hypocrisy in D.C.
- Duration 6:50
- Date Nov 20, 2011
Ex-D.C. insider Jack Abramoff exposes hypocrisy in D.C.
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He's only played one -- -- the -- report.
Radio call across America also.
-- Washington has always had its share of crooked characters and corrupt cronies.
But none more infamous in recent years than Jack Abramoff.
-- highly influential lobbyist with close ties to the bush administration and dozens of ranking congressman.
Jack Abramoff was a master at making deals with -- powerful politicians.
Often promising staffers high paying jobs in the future.
He was convicted of bribing Washington's a lead with lavish gifts in exchange for political favors including favorable legislation and tax breaks for his client.
Ever mock -- things of value to public officials.
Including foreign -- domestic trips.
Excessive meals and entertainment.
And other things of value.
All with the intent.
And at times with the understanding.
That the public official with acted -- but at from up where his client.
The lust for power and money caught up with Abramoff while lobbying for native American gaming -- Kevin Spacey played Abramoff in the movie casino Jack I got a phone call this morning from chief no -- Texas can cook.
He knows a lot of the capability of -- or golden that he wasn't he would push -- oil drilling rights and told them.
He wants to -- done it's gonna cost -- a million a month retainer.
Can you get that in the end zone if you -- we -- with the -- baby yeah that's out there if that's true man you make him show you the money fast.
Meantime -- human under the radar Abramoff and his associates collected tens of millions of dollars in fees from four Indian tribes.
While in some cases working separately to shut down their casinos.
Abramoff was convicted of fraud and conspiracy.
Also convicted with him to White House officials Ohio congressman Bob -- And nine other lobbyists and congressional aides.
Jack -- three and a half years in federal prison for his crimes he's also written a fascinating new book called capital punishment.
I spoke to Jack Abramoff earlier.
Jack Quinn was the first time that you were called crossing the line as a lobbyist and getting into something that could be criminal behavior.
But when I was a lobbyist I didn't.
Think of was crossing lines that that's the problem never thought than ever now I never thought I was crossing lines.
The problem is personal lines are drawn in a way that.
This kind of murky history netbook in that business and so you never quite sure where the line is and also the way I operated unfortunately.
In those days I was hyper aggressive and I wanted to win win win.
And stopped caring where the lines were that was a problem.
But once you were arrested indicted.
Put on trial.
There had to be appointed which -- -- where you said.
You know what I've really done some.
Horrible things you know when did that happen after effort happened and was clear to me I wasn't coming back down.
When it first happened where -- dispersed.
I guess -- Senator McCain -- of my emails and started making public and the just department started getting -- I told my lawyers.
Good just armed with everything.
And shut everything I don't think I really anything horrible here and I'm basically a lobby the -- you realize that that's horrible and of itself.
And -- sorted out let them just see what it is and let's get this over with and then we -- through my emails.
And I sort of looking at things they had 850000.
Emails that I sent over the course them.
Little lessons in years it's a lot of emails that is and kind of -- -- Sorry don't you wish she hit the delete button a little I had serving in the poster child for the -- -- bright and an email anything you don't wanna rebuild from visual Washington's.
Virtually everything aren't any -- -- read in the -- the president.
Sudden -- started the scene but I Don and looking back at it it didn't look so Kosher.
You're not a big fan of Senator John McCain.
That that's clear from the book capital punishment but it's also clear I think from some of the things that he has said about you why.
Did he have an -- for you -- I don't know -- never had a chat with him about it that I think and I represented -- sort of wing of the party that he disdained.
Wing of the party.
So ideologically we are in different places.
He had is sort of cadre a lobbyist that he who loved and helped I wasn't one of them.
They turned out to be my competitors proportionally.
And finally when he ran for president.
I did everything I could do to keep him from squeezing money out of my clients and winning the race.
Let's talk about the fact that there are lobbyists -- 35000.
Registered -- that does not include the people who are not technically lobbyist.
But they are consultants and they are partners in law firms and they -- rain makers.
Jack the system's pretty -- on corrupt our.
Are there people who are in high places of power now.
That are as corrupt as you turned out to he -- Well and it's a blunt question that I mean I think.
I think that.
The problem is not those that are crossing these -- lines in the sand like I did because frankly upon a very small percentage of people.
Who push that envelope so far that they feel they have to even crossed that line.
The problem is where the line is the problems what's the legal.
And so while people would be engaged in things that are not illegal and they're not breaking the law.
As we look at them as American citizens from the outside the rear of where aghast that this is a legal and that's who -- in the system.
I think that's one of the points is that some of the things for which you got in trouble were clearly across a legal line.
But if we examined the ethical behavior and the people in Washington not just lobbies but members of congress and a whole lot of people.
Would be dumbfounded.
All of those folks should be barred completely.
From not only giving campaign contributions -- any gratuity any favor any anything.
To people who -- public servants in Washington.
I think that would that's part of -- What I talk about but that's essential if one doesn't stop -- because at the end of the day governor it's all bribery.
At the end of the day whether you're given campaign contributions or you're buying him dinner we've taken into the ball game it's bribery may not be called bribery in the -- right now but it is.