Sushi with a Side of Scandal

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According to Glen Justice in today's New York Times, scandalized lobbyist Jack Abramoff's upscale restaurant Signatures might not be bustling now, but in its heyday, it was filled with high-powered elected officials and well-heeled lobbyists.

For example, Justice cites an e-mail that Abramoff wrote to his restaurant managers in May 2002 which gives instructions on how to handle VIP Majority Leader Tom DeLay and his wife.

"Table of 6," Abramoff wrote, "put it where I sit and remove that other table.
Their meal is to be comped."

The restaurant kept a list of influential customers whose food was to be comped when they came in. Among those 18 lucky patrons with "FOO Comp" (Food complimentary) next to their names were: Representatives Bob Ney (R-OH), John Doolittle (R-CA), and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and former Senators John Breaux (D-LA) and Tim Hutchinson (R-AK).

When asked to comment, Breaux responded: "I never got a comped meal there
in my life. And I'm certainly not a friend of Abramoff."

Looks like the free food and wine helped Abramoff make a lot of other friends in Washington, though.