Crony Capitalism on K Street, DC
November 5, 2011. See this amazing 60-Minutes interview with Jack I-only-owned-100-Congressman Arbamoff . Abramoff explains in fascinating detail, exactly how crony capitalism works — and just how easy it is for business to buy our government. Crony capitalism is much of what wrecks our government and make people hate Uncle Sam. You can't get much more un-American.
In 1985, Abramoff joined Citizens for America, a pro-Reagan group that helped Oliver North build support for the Nicaraguan Contras. In 1986 he received a minor appointment from Reagan. In 1989 he wrote and produced with this brother a propaganda film for the apartheid government of South Africa. In 2001 he was part of the Bush transition team. In short, he has impeccable conservative credentials. That's why what he says now is so completely credible.
Abramoff grew the biggest and most successful K-Street lobbying firm, and as he explains, most of what he did was perfectly legal because the laws are designed for crony capitalists and their lobbyists. But defrauding Indian tribes and "corrupting" (bribing) public officials is not legal, and Abramoff landed in (minimum security) prison on Nov. 15, 2006. He was released from a halfway house, and his job at Tov Pizza earning $10 an hour, on Dec. 3, 2010. As you will see in the film, working at the kosher Pizza parlor seems to have produced a remarkable transformation.
Oh, and by the way, Abramoff was no loner. The following accomplices were either forced to resign, convicted or pled guilty.
- Tom DeLay (R-TX) The House Majority Leader.
- Susan B. Ralston (R) Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to Karl Rove.
- Bob Ney, U. S. Representative, (R-Ohio), 2½ years in prison for taking bribes.
- Steven Griles, (R) former Deputy Interior Secretary, under George W. Bush.
- Italia Federici, (R) co-founder of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy.
- Roger Stillwell (R) Staff in the Department of the Interior under George W. Bush.
- David Safavian, (R) former White House top procurement official.
- Neil Volz, (R) a former chief of staff to Ney.
- William Heaton, (R) former chief of staff for Ney.
- Thomas Hart, (R) former chief of staff for Ney.
- Mark Zachares, former aide to U. S. Representative Don Young, (R-Alaska).
- Kevin A. Ring former staff to John Doolittle (R-CA).
- James Hirni, former staff to Tim Hutchinson (R-AR).
- Michael Scanlon (R) former staff to Tom DeLay.
- Tony Rudy (R) former staff to Tom DeLay.
- James W. Ellis (R) executive director of Tom DeLay's political action committee.
- John Colyandro executive director of Tom DeLay's political action committee.
- John Albaugh former chief of staff to Ernest Istook (R-OK).
- Jared Carpenter (R) VP of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy.
- Robert E. Coughlin (R) Deputy Chief of Staff, Criminal Division of the Justice Department.
- For details on crimes and times served.