Cross Posted at Daily Kos

Asked about Abramoff, [Senate Minority Leader Harry] Reid told the Las Vegas Sun, “I don’t know him. I don’t want to know him. I know nothing about it other than what I read in the newspaper. … This is a Republican scandal.” Link

It won’t be a Republican Scandal for long if Senator Reid, the Democratic Leader in the Senate, and potential 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Clinton do not return Abramoff-tainted money.  It is untenable that we are currently in a position where President Bush can say that he is returning such tainted contributions, but the Democratic Leader and presumed standard-bearer in the next Presidential election cannot.  

But Reid has his reasons:

Nevada US Senator Harry Reid plans to keep about 61-thousand dollars he received from clients of a powerful lobbyist at the center of a growing bribery scandal in Washington.

Reid spokeswoman Tessa Hafen says the Senate minority leader has done nothing wrong and sees no reason to donate the political contributions received from clients of Jack Abramoff.  Link

Indeed, this is legally defensible and apparently the former clients of Abramoff, the Indian tribes involved in running casinos, threw away their money on Reid since he opposes legislation that would hurt the gambling industry in Nevada.   Las Vegas is in Nevada, correct?   Thought so.  So Reid has a defensible position.

Delaware Senator Carper agrees.    Senator Carper received $7,077 from Native American tribes who had hired Jack Abramoff as well as registered lobbyists who are members of the same law firm as Abramoff.   It should be noted, however, that the law firm in question, Greenberg Traurig, has an office in Wilmington, Delaware.  

Senator Carper stated:

I have no relationship with Jack Abramoff, nor does any of my staff. I have never met him, never spoken with him or ever received any direct contributions from him or solicited by him.

And in the face of the first aftershocks of the Abramoff scandal, Senator Carper stood firm.

While some lawmakers scrambled to rid themselves of campaign contributions connected to Jack Abramoff, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper said Wednesday he plans to keep $4,000 he received from Indian tribes with ties to the former lobbyist who has pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Link

You will note the distinction that Carper and Reid make in their statements between receiving contributions from tribes that have hired Abramoff in the past and receiving them from Abramoff himself.  Apparently, this distinction is supposed to make a difference in the political consequences of who received what from or in spite of Abramoff.    In my mind, it doesn’t.  Abramoff-tainted money is Abramoff-tainted money.    If Democrats are to gain any traction from this scandal at all, we have to be pure as the wind driven snow.   We cannot be distracted by defending our keeping Abramoff-tainted money.  

I challenge any and all Democrats to donate their Abramoff-tainted money to whatever good cause you desire.  And if you do that I will personally lead a grass/net-roots fundraising drive to replace those funds, if you so desperately need them in the coming campaigns.

It is one thing to be legally defensible; it is another to morally defensible.  In this matter, where Republican corruption runs deep and wide, we cannot be pulled in with those drowning bastards.   Donate the money.   I don’t care how far removed from Abramoff it is.  Donate now.  

Delaware Senator Carper has seen the light:

However, in order to dispel any perception that there has been any wrong doing, I have directed my campaign committee and PAC to make a charitable donation today to the Boys and Girls Club of Delaware in the amount of $7,077 – an amount equal to that which our records indicate we received from the two Indian Tribes who were once represented by Mr. Abramoff and from the two registered lobbyists – both democrats and one that I have known personally for 20 years – who were members of the same law firm as Mr. Abramoff. I sincerely hope this will not reflect negatively on the integrity of the organizations or individuals who have made legal contributions to my campaign in good faith.”

Thank you Senator Carper.  Let’s hope all Democrats do the same.  

0 0 votes
Article Rating