More Abramoff Sleaziness

MORE ABRAMOFF SLEAZINESS….Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, best known in recent years for shady lobbying practices related to casino gambling on Native American tribal lands, has long been involved in shady lobbying for Northern Marianas sweatshop ownwers as well. And guess what? He seems to have been involved in shady lobbying in Guam too! Small world!

But there’s more. Today, the LA Times reports that three years ago, when Abramoff’s Guam lobbying became the target of an investigation, George Bush stepped in to help him out:

In Guam, an American territory in the Pacific, investigators were looking into Abramoff’s secret arrangement with Superior Court officials to lobby against a court revision bill then pending in the U.S. Congress.

….The Times reported in May that Abramoff was paid with a series of $9,000 checks [totaling $324,000] funneled through a Laguna Beach lawyer to disguise the lobbyist’s role working for the Guam court. No separate contract was authorized for Abramoff’s work.

….The transactions were the target of a grand jury subpoena issued Nov. 18, 2002, according to a copy obtained by The Times. The subpoena demanded that Anthony Sanchez, administrative director of the Guam Superior Court, release records involving the lobbying contract, including bills and payments.

A day later, the chief prosecutor, U.S. Atty. Frederick A. Black, who had launched the investigation, was demoted. A White House news release announced that Bush was replacing Black.

Needless to say, the investigation died as soon as Black, who was originally appointed by Bush Sr., was demoted. A bunch of other investigations into local corruption that had proved embarrassing to Guam’s governor apparently died on the vine too.

But I’m sure it was all just a coincidence.