Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Investigating Abramoff

An interesting aspect of the plea agreement that Michael Scanlon entered into with the government (available here on Findlaw) is the fact that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida signed off along with DOJ's Public Integrity and Fraud Sections, which have been investigating lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with Congress.  Abramoff was indicted in that district earlier on bank fraud charges, and by agreeing to cooperate with the government's investigation, Scanlon may be providing information that will be useful in the Florida prosecution beyond the Washington DC lobbying activites in which he and Abramoff engaged.  The "factual basis" for Scanlon's plea to a single count of conspiracy recites a laundry list of benefits provided to "Representative #1," who has been identified as Rep. Bob Ney, to assist "Lobbyist A" -- Abramoff -- in advancing the interests of the various Indian tribes Abramoff represented on casino issues.  With the Southern District of Florida coordinating its case with Main Justice, the pressure on Abramoff has increased significantly, and the indictment in Florida may become the least of his problems. (ph)

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