Abramoff Round Up

From the National Journal Early Bird News:

Courts: Abramoff Cuts Deal; Subpoenas Issued In DeLay Case

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Tuesday "pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion charges in one of the biggest corruption cases in recent Washington history, agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors who are investigating whether members of Congress took bribes from him in exchange for favors," the Boston Globe reports. "Abramoff admitted that he told Indian tribes to give money to a lobbying firm while hiding his own $20 million take and that he also tried to bribe public officials."

"The plea deal carries up to 30 years in prison, but prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 9 1/2 to 11 years, providing Abramoff cooperates with federal prosecutors," Fox News reports. "Restitution to his clients could be at least $25 million."

AP has a timeline, the New York Times has the text of the charges [PDF] and FindLaw has the plea agreement [PDF].

And "the Travis County district attorney issued four subpoenas Tuesday in an attempt to find any links between" Abramoff and Rep. Tom DeLay's (R) "2002 Texas fundraising," the Houston Chronicle reports. The subpoenas "seek records from two law firms at which Abramoff worked, a Mississippi Indian tribe he represented and a California tribe."

From The Editorial Boards...

Amid the bribery scandals involving Abramoff and members of Congress, "one player remains notable for its absence: the House ethics committee, which has been silent and, for most of the past year, dysfunctional," the Washington Post criticizes.

"The Abramoff scandal is likely to make 2006 the year a seamy underside of Congress comes into full public view," USA Today adds, claiming that "the institution has fallen into one of its most tawdry periods ever, with members actively seeking favors in exchange for legislation that sells out the public interest for personal or partisan
gain."

The Boston Globe notes that "the culture in Washington is so fouled with special-interest money that even legal contributions often undermine public confidence, and this case appears far worse."