I must say I admire Flash Report publisher Jon Fleischman for his loyalty and consistency.Ã‚Â With most of the reality-based community expecting Congressman John Doolittle to be brought down by his strong connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Jon continues to show his admiration to the Congressman and his wife on the bits and bytes of TFR.
My favorite paragraph is here:
This is a great opportunity for me to share with FlashReport readers that I have known John and Julie for eighteen years, and have found them both to be honorable and good people.Ã‚Â Frankly, I would be extremely shocked (to put it mildly) if either of them were convicted for any wrongdoing.Ã‚Â But there is also no doubt that Jack Abramoff, who turned out to be a terrible person, and a common crook, has really dragged down a lot of politicians around him just because of his association with them (Richard Pombo’s innocent connection to Abramoff was used as a campaign tool against him, and he lost a pretty close race last year in a neighboring district).
But buried in the post is this line in reference to Doolittle’s district: It would be very interesting to see a credible survey that shows how Doolittle would fare against a Democrat opponent next November, after barely getting re-elected last year (in a seat that was specifically carved to only elect a Republican).
I love when Republicans, who often complain about Gerrymadnered districts that favor Democrats, have no problem with districts “specifically carved to only elect a Republican.”Ã‚Â And a troubled Republican at that.
Since Jon continues to be in denial on how both Rep. Dooliate and former Rep. Pombo are tainted by Abramoff, some facts below from Think Progress.com.
GIFTS Ã¢â‚¬â€ DOOLITTLE FAILED TO REPORT USE OF ABRAMOFF SKYBOXES: Hayworth, Doolittle, and Ney Ã¢â‚¬Å“were allowed free use of AbramoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sports skyboxes for fund-raisers held as long ago as 1999. They didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t declare the value of the accommodations until records surfaced in ongoing U.S. Senate and criminal investigations of suspected exploitation by the lobbyist in charging six Indian tribes $82 million for representation.Ã¢â‚¬Â [Arizona Republic, 5/10/05]
CRONYISM Ã¢â‚¬â€ ABRAMOFF HIRED DOOLITTLEÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S WIFE AND HIS CHIEF OF STAFF: Ã¢â‚¬Å“AbramoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s connections to Doolittle are also of interest to investigators, sources said. DoolittleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s former chief of staff, Kevin A. Ring, went to work with Abramoff. DoolittleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife, Julie, owned a consulting firm that was hired by Abramoff and his firm, Greenberg Traurig, to do fundraising for a charity he founded. Two sources close to the investigation said that Ring, while working for Abramoff, was an intermediary in the hiring of Julie DoolittleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s firm, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions Inc., which last year received a subpoena from the grand jury investigating Abramoff.Ã¢â‚¬Â [Washington Post, 11/26/05]
COUSHATTA CAMPAIGN Ã¢â‚¬â€ DOOLITTLE RECEIVED OVER $30,000 FROM ABRAMOFF AND HIS CLIENTS: One of AbramoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tribal clients, the Coushattas, Ã¢â‚¬Å“opposed a plan by the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians to open a casino at a non-reservation site, expected at the time to be outside Shreveport, La., not far from a casino owned by the Coushattas.Ã¢â‚¬Â On February 27, 2002, Ã¢â‚¬Å“27 lawmakers told Norton she should reject the Jena casino because gambling was a societal blight.Ã¢â‚¬Â Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., received $1,000 from Abramoff several weeks after he signed a February 27, 2002 letter to Norton then got $16,000 from two of AbramoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s casino-operating tribal clients about two months later. By yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s end , Doolittle also had used AbramoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s restaurant to cater a campaign event and received an additional $15,000 from tribes. [Washington Post, 9/28/04; AP, 11/17/05]
TRIP (PUERTO RICO, 2001) Ã¢â‚¬â€ LOPEZ ACCEPTED ABRAMOFF TRIP TO PUERTO RICO: John Lopez Ã¢â‚¬â€œ then chief of staff to Doolittle Ã¢â‚¬â€œ traveled to Puerto Rico in July 2001 for what he described on a travel disclosure form as a week-long Ã¢â‚¬Å“fact findingÃ¢â‚¬Â trip. The $1,352 trip was paid for by AbramoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig. At the time, Lopez believed that the Ã¢â‚¬Å“firm was to be reimbursed by the sponsor.Ã¢â‚¬Â However, five years later Lopez is unable to recall Ã¢â‚¬Å“what he did in Puerto Rico or who he thought would reimburse Greenberg Traurig.Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“House rules prohibit lawmakers and staff from taking trips paid for by registered lobbyists or lobbying firms.Ã¢â‚¬Â [Associated Press, 2/9/06]
MARIANA ISLANDS Ã¢â‚¬â€œ DOOLITTLE RECEIVED $14,000 SHORTLY AFTER SECURING CONTRACT: Doolittle helped Abramoff Ã¢â‚¬Å“secure a lucrative lobbying contract with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 1999 and then assisted the now-disgraced lobbyistÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s efforts to route federal money to the islands and defend its garment industry.Ã¢â‚¬Â Along the way, Abramoff donated $4,000 to DoolittleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reelection campaign and $10,000 to the congressmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s political action committee. Doolittle helped a commonwealth legislator, Benigne Fitial, win election as speaker of the House. Fitial, in turn, Ã¢â‚¬Å“pushed through the Marianas House legislation directing the government to hire AbramoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s firm, Preston Gates, as its lobbying firm, and the deal was accepted July 27.Ã¢â‚¬Â [San Jose Mercury News, 8/4/06]
House Resources Chairman
FAVORS Ã¢â‚¬â€ POMBO REFUSED TO INVESTIGATE ABRAMOFF: Rep. George Miller (D-CA), a member of the Resources committee that has sole jurisidiction over the Marianas, has continually petitioned Pombo for an investigation into AbramoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dealings there, to no avail. [The Hill, 12/15/05]
MASHPEE Ã¢â‚¬â€ POMBO PASSED A BILL HELPING ABRAMOFF CLIENT, RECEIVED MONEY IN RETURN: In 2004, Pombo ushered a bill through his committee helping the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians tribe Ã¢â‚¬â€ an Abramoff client Ã¢â‚¬â€ gain federal recognition and special benefits, which was approved in Sept. 2004. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Members of the tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians, have donated at least $20,000 to PomboÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s political group since he was named Committee on Resources Chairman on Jan. 8, 2003. Tribe members gave an additional $12,000 to his re-election campaign earlier this year. The first Mashpee donation – $12,000 from six members of the tribe to PomboÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leadership political action committee, Rich PAC – came Sept. 29, 2003. That same day, Abramoff gave $5,000 to the fund. Abramoff also gave $2,000 to PomboÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s re-election campaign days after he was named resources committee chairman.Ã¢â‚¬Â [Lodi News Sentinel, 12/5/05]