At this point most of you know that super lobbyist Jack Abramoff has plead guilty to several counts of fraud in federal court. He is expected to plead guilty in a federal case in Florida as well. His various cases have spawned what reportedly will be a wide ranging congressional corruption investigation. As a result of his guilty plea, Abramoff has now turned state’s evidence, and is expected to tell all about congressional corruption. Some reports have suggested as many as 20 congressmen and their aides are subjects of that ongoing investigation.
One thing that we know for certain is that Abramoff gave Rep. Tom Delay (R-Texas) tens of thousands of dollars. We also know that Tom Delay then redistributed large amounts of money to other congressional Republicans. As we reported early on after Tom Delay was indicted, Wisconsin’s Mark Green and Paul Ryan were beneficiaries of the Tom Delay cash. There has been a steady chorus of people demanding that Green and Ryan give back the tainted money. Both Republicans have given 101 different reasons for why they would not give it back. At one point, Mark Green reportedly said that he would only consider giving money back after a conviction.
We now KNOW that someone has committed numerous federal crimes (Abramoff). We also KNOW that he gave tens of thousands to Delay who gave tens of thousands to Green/Ryan. My question for both men would be the following: Can you guaranty that none of the illegal money from Abramoff made it through Tom Delay into your respective campaigns? If you can’t give the public this guaranty, then you MUST give back the tainted money now! I would hope that you would want to avoid the VERY APPEARANCE of impropriety. Even Mark Green’s Republican primary opponent for Governor, Scott Walker, has now said that Green should give back all of the money.
Mark Green might be more concerned about the Abramoff scandal than Ryan because Green’s former chief of staff Mark Graul (current campaign manager) shows up on various Abramoff freebee lists. Some of these freebee items are the very types of things that Abramoff used to influence some congressmen and their aids. This along with the growing corruption scandal, and the tainted money from Delay would be overwhelming to any normal person. Green once again has an opportunity to do what is right in one of these instances. His actions in the next several days will tell more about him than any of the TV commercials that he plans to produce in his run for governor.