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The Jack Abramoff scandal is growing at a rapid clip. While it is only part of the GOP Culture of Corruption, it is a rich and deep gusher of sleaze.

Harry Reid had it just about right yesterday:

"I believe this is the most corrupt Congress in the history of this country,"

Of course, it is not only the Congress: the entire GOP infrastructure is rotten to its core. And Jack Abramoff is one the architects of the corruption (along with Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie and a few others).

As Jack falls down, new scandal developments are coming from many directions and it's getting hard to track them all. But let's try to get a handle on the news in the Abramoff/GOP scandal.

Join me on the jump for the last 72 hours of Scandal Jack News...

The Business Week story on how Jack bought Conservative columnists is getting more and more attention. It strikes a raw nerve in the press and I would expect more names to drop as members of Jack's keyboard brothel.

Frank Foer of The New Republic is an Abramoff scholar. Over the weekend he added more details to "Jack's pay-for-copy scam". His post, Bandow and the Corruption of the Conservatives, is worth a look:

Most fundamentally, I hope that the Bandow case helps reframe the Abramoff scandal. This isn't just about Tom DeLay. This is about the corruption of the conservative movement. Allow me to quote myself:

It's one thing to imagine that politicians, with their need for campaign cash, could be swayed by a lobbyist. Journalists and intellectuals, on the other hand, even those who admit their ideological predispositions, aren't supposed to be so susceptible to influence-peddlers. Abramoff, however, proved otherwise. He understood how the universe of thinkers and activists associated with the Republican Party operated, how to manipulate them with ideological buzzwords, and how to influence them with access and money. Jack Abramoff didn't just corrupt Tom DeLay. He helped corrupt the whole conservative movement.

In other words, there's lots more where Bandow came from. I think that I caputed this in my article.

The article Frank quotes was his piece, Abramoff's Shadow Lobby, captured the pay-for-copy aspect of the Abramoff scandal months ago. Here is another quote from the article that helps to explain the GOP owned and operated nature of Jack's work (and why Democrats are not involved with Abramoff):

Norquist ran Abramoff's triumphant nationwide campaign for chairmanship of the College Republicans. They owed their bond to a shared affinity for bomb-throwing, hardcore conservatism. At College Republicans, they instructed organizers to memorize a speech from the movie Patton. Only, they insisted that their minions replace references to Nazis with references to Democrats. As in, "The Democrats are the enemy. Wade into them! Spill their blood! Shoot them in the belly!"

Jack and Grover have been working on One Party rule for 25 years. Foer ended his post with a hopeful postscript:

P.S. All roads lead to Grover Norquist. He was the maestro and Abramoff's key ideological pawn. Will he be frog-marched off K Street in handcuffs? It would hardly shock me.

So let's take a look at some more Abramoff Scandal news from the last couple of days:

  • Ralph Reed's Abramoff troubles are growing due to a Texas investigation of his unregistered lobbying work for Jack on the Tribal gaming issue. And CBS News Online reprints an American Prospect column on Reed's Greed.

  • The rush is on to distance oneself from Abramoff. Montana journalist Jennifer McKee reports that Rep. Denny Rehberg  returned $19,900 in campaign donations from indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his tribal clients and co-workers last Friday. The National Party should note that the Montana Democrat Party's active effort to paint the GOP as corrupt is working.

  • Over in California, the local paper is promising a closer look at the Congressman John Doolittle who is linked to Abramoff in "some interesting ways" and had some words of praise for Doolittle's Democratic challenger, Charles Brown.

  • Back in Montana, Jack is connected to a scandal involving a parking garage. And Sen. Baucus Joins everybody in Montana in donating and funds remotely connected to Abramoff.

  • McCain offers lobbying reforms in the wake of the growing scandal. There is a great opportunity for Democrats to drive this issue, on our terms. I welcome McCain's effort, but his proposals are fairly weak. But it is a start for the GOP. Democracy 21 is pushing lobbying reform as well. We need to frame this issue.

  • Meanwhile, Dana Rohrbacher, the CA Congressman with about as many Abramoff connections as Grover Norquist or Ralph Reed, places himself on the frontline of defending Bush's unconstitutional actions. It is fitting to send one of the Congresses most ethically challenged members to defend the most ethically challenge President in our history. And one of the skeletons in Dana's closet it his work to support the Taliban.  As Atrios would point out he has a secret.

  • Frank Foer over at TNR is is a great Abramoff news source (and the Plank is a must read for Abramoff Scandal researchers). Today he acknowledges Krugman's mention of his reporting and calls for help researching the Abramoff-Norquist-Malaysia connection. Over the next few days he'll be posting documents and details in the hopes that some Netroots research will help bring yet another Abramoff scandal thread to the headlines. Go and lend him a hand.

  • The Toledo Blade reported over the weekend about all the Bush Pioneers who seem to be at the center of investigations.  The big questions now is, were any of them honest? Are the all like Jack? Or Bush pal Kenny Boy who goes on trial soon (at the same time as Tom and Jack). So who's next? georgia 10 wrote about this over the weekend.

  • This looks interesting. KUAM news out of Guam is reporting that Guam's Office of Public Auditor issued a report this morning on the Judicial Building Fund. The report highlights the Judiciary's lobbying efforts and the role of Jack Abramoff. The Pacific Daily News adds more details. And remember this may be tied to the Bush WH ending a Guam-based Abramoff investigation in 2002. Sherlock Google wrote about this aspect of the Abramoff Scandal a couple of weeks ago.

  • Jonathan Chait highlights the growing Abramoff scandal in his LA Times column, but sadly he repeats the myth that Abramoff gave to Democrats as well as Republicans. That's false. Jack only gave his donations to Republicans. According to Open Secrets he never gave to Democrats. His lobbying firms and some of his clients gave to Democrats as well the GOP. And while these donations may have an Abramoff-connection, they are not the same as Jack's personal checks to candidates. And those only went to the GOP. Media Matters takes on Anne Kornblut of the NYTs for a perpetuating the myth that Jack gave to both parties. We need to stop this lie when ever it pops up.

  • This is not a surprise. Conservative writer Peter Ferrara's explanation of his paid-for-copy work with Jack is quite weasel-like.

  • The other day Rep. Pombo donated $7,000 of his Abramoff booty in the hopes that everybody would stop talking about his ties to Jack. It didn't work. His local California paper, the Tri-Valley Herald reports on his his many Abramoff and Tribal connections. Especially after he became Chair of the Resource Committee that could (and did) throw money at Jack's clients.

  • And over at the NYTs, Philip Shendon writes about how Abramoff is impacting the 2006 election cycle and Paul Krugman weighs in on the Jack's pay-for-copy/talk scam. Krugman is, as always, right on the mark and captures the Balance Bias of the press when it comes to covering the growing Abramoff (and related) GOP scandals:

First, if the latest pay-for-punditry story starts to get traction, the usual suspects will claim that liberal think tanks and opinion writers are also on the take. (I'm getting my raincoat ready for the slime attack on my own ethics I'm sure this column will provoke.) Reporters and editors will be tempted to give equal time to these accusations, however weak the evidence, in an effort to appear "balanced." They should resist the temptation. If this is overwhelmingly a story about Republican lobbyists and conservative think tanks, as I believe it is -- there isn't any Democratic equivalent of Jack Abramoff -- that's what the public deserves to be told.

Second, there will be the temptation to ignore the backstory -- to treat Mr. Abramoff as a rogue, unrepresentative actor. In fact, before his indictment, Mr. Abramoff wasn't off on his own. He wasn't even a lobbyist in the traditional sense; he's better described as a bag man, running a slush fund for Tom DeLay and other Republican leaders. The point is that there really isn't much difference between Mr. Abramoff's paying Mr. Ferrara to praise the sweatshops of the Marianas and the Department of Education's paying Armstrong Williams to praise No Child Left Behind. In both cases, the ultimate paymaster was the Republican political machine.

And inquiring minds want to know: Who else is on the take? Or has the culture of corruption spread so far that the question is, Who isn't?

Abramoff is a 25-year GOP bagman who controlled a Republican slush fund built with illegal donations, bribery, graft, corruption and extortion.

He trained a generation of young GOP thugs to follow in his footsteps. Some of them have already cut deals to talk to the DOJ. Others are working on deals. Soon all the small fish (with a couple of large ones like Scanlon and Kidan) will have made deals. Jack may be next.

And soon it will be the small fish Congressmen who start cutting deals.

This is starting to get very interesting indeed.

Originally posted to dengre on Mon Dec 19, 2005 at 08:34 PM PST.

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