Abramoff's Scotland junket

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The trial of former Bush Administration official David Safavian raises lots of interesting questions for Rep. Bob Ney, Ralph Reed, and others, as former Ney chief of staff and government witness Neil Volz takes the stand. Here's just one example we're interested in:


Read this paragraph from the Atlanta Journal Constitution piece last week about whether Ralph Reed ever paid Abramoff for his portion of the $92,000 flight to Scotland or the costs of the lodging and meals (and golf fees) while there:


"In e-mail discussions about the Scotland trip, which surfaced last year during a U.S. Senate investigation, Abramoff told Reed, 'The package on the ground is $4K per person. That covers room, tee times and ground transportation.' Expenses were to be run through a private foundation Abramoff had established."


Reed, through a spokesperson, insists he reimbursed Abramoff.


But, if Reed did indeed refund the charity for the travel expenses, did he do so while claiming it as a charitable donation, and therefore a deduction on income tax returns? He could deduct it if it was a business expense. But if there was business discussed, what was it?


If there wasn't business discussed, Reed wouldn't be able to deduct it. Legally that is.


We know that Abramoff is on the hook, so to speak, on all sorts of tax evasion charges. Is Reed liable as well? At the very least, the average Georgian doesn't get to write off their golf vacations the way Reed might have.