Burns-Abramoff Investigation Heating Up

It looks like Connie might be in some hot water. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the Justice Department is seriously investigating the actions of a number of senior Republicans, including Tom Delay and Conrad Burns.

The interesting part of the story might be the low bar the Justice Department seems to have set in terms of bribery charges. Michael Scanlon, the already indicted business partner of Abramoff (and a likely source of quite a bit of incriminating material), pled guilty to bribery for donations totalling only $14,000:

Mr. Scanlon’s guilty plea suggests that prosecutors may be setting a low threshold for bringing bribery charges. Mr. Scanlon pleaded guilty to bribing Mr. Ney by contributing just $4,000 to his campaign account in 2000 and an additional $10,000 to a separate Republican campaign fund. Prosecutors told Mr. Scanlon that if he made the contributions in exchange for some action or public statement by Mr. Ney, the donations amounted to bribery. That argument put pressure on Mr. Scanlon to plead guilty.

Presumably, the Senator for the Saginaw Chippewas has a convenient explanation for the $150,000 he has received from Abramoff and his clients in the past four years.

This is big news, both in terms of our statewide race for the Senate and for the Republican party nationwide. Wading in the filth of Tom Delay’s backyward might have been worth a few bucks, but the stench isn’t going to go away. Let’s hope the media and Democrats force this issue to the forefront.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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