The Abramoff Slate

The pro-corruption caucus never rests and it rewards their foot soldiers with work through the many brushes with the law that they have.

A good case in point is Susan Ralston. She was Jack Abramoff’s secretary/confidant and gate-keeper for years. Then she went to work in the same role for Karl Rove (and serve as an important member of Team Abramoff in the White House. Here you can see a photo of Susan with Jack and many members of the gang (she is the one sitting in front of Jack). Most folks in that photo have either had charges filed against them or are still under investigation. Susan falls into the latter category. It was only last August when the Department of Justice named her as a co-conspirator in the Abramoff Scandal.

To say that she is under a cloud of suspicion would be an understatement. And yet, Republicans are more than willing to hire her to raise money for them and organize their affairs. The St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday that Ralston is the point of contact for a major GOP fundraiser for seven Republican Candidates for Senate this year. Here is the invite:

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Corruption and popcorn

Alex Gibney is an accomplished filmmaker. He won an Academy Award in 2008 for his film, Taxi to the Dark Side, examining America’s policy on torture and interrogation in general.

He has a lot of projects in the hopper at any given moment. A few years ago he began to work on a film about Jack Abramoff and the culture of corruption infecting Washington DC. That film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend (I’m told that scandal players Bob Ney and Neil Volz were there).

Over the years I’ve shared some information and research with Alex and his team and I can hardly wait to see the film. It should be in wide distribution come May.

From the early reviews of Casino Jack and the United States of Money it looks like this film should be a wake up call for Americans of all stripes about the corrupting influence of money on our politics. This graph from a review completely tracks with what I’ve found in my ten plus years of research into the subject:

His partner was Tom DeLay, the most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives — but, of course, DeLay’s fall from grace, and Abramoff’s conviction in the scandal that brought them both down, is old news. What’s astonishing, and important, about Casino Jack is that it lays out how the system of funneling cash for favors that Abramoff turned into a new kind of government machine, with the money often hidden behind fake nonpartisan organizations, didn’t go away; it took over. It was Jack Abramoff who elevated the lobbyist to the status of shadow legislator. Casino Jack is really a look at how, and why, the government no longer works — how the culture of Washington was effectively rebuilt to sell itself to the highest bidder.

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Since 2004 I have been one of the many bloggers posting Diaries over at Daily Kos (known in some quarters as the Great Orange Satan). I was a bit of a specialist over there and most of my work concerned writing about my research into the Jack Abramoff scandal and corruption in Washington. I wrote under the pen name <a href=””>dengre</a>. Here, I’ll use Dennis G, as is the local custom.

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