ABRAMOFF’S FRIENDS….A few days ago Jack Abramoff’s partner, Michael Scanlon, finalized a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to a single bribery charge in return for his cooperation in the wide-ranging influence peddling case against Abramoff. How wide ranging? Scanlon’s lawyer that the “investigation is much broader ? and Mr. Scanlon’s cooperation in it will be much more extensive” than merely what was set out in the indictment against Scanlon. Here’s what the Wall Street Journal has to say:

A Justice Department investigation into possible influence-peddling by prominent Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff is examining his dealings with four lawmakers, [at least 17] current and former congressional aides and two former Bush administration officials.

….Prosecutors in the department’s public integrity and fraud divisions…are looking into Mr. Abramoff’s interactions with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, Rep. Bob Ney (R., Ohio), Rep. John Doolittle (R., Calif.) and Sen. Conrad Burns (R., Mont.), according to several people close to the investigation.

….The Justice Department also is looking into Mr. Abramoff’s dealings with Steven Griles, a former deputy secretary at the Interior Department, and David Safavian, a former head of the government’s procurement office, according to lawyers and others close to the investigation.

With Scanlon squealing and a couple dozen other officials getting nervous, there’s no telling how far this could go. Once these guys start ratting each other out, the sky’s the limit.

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