Rich Galen

Abramoff Pleads Guilty to 3 Felony Charges

Former high-powered lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty today to three felony charges in a deal with federal prosecutors that helps clear the way for his testimony about members of Congress and congressional staffers in a wide-ranging political corruption investigation.
By William Branigin, Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers

  • This will be the story of 2006.

  • Everyone who watches any flavor of the "Law & Order" or "CSI" franchises knows that prosecutors lean on someone like Abramoff in order to get him to spill the beans about higher-ups.

  • The higher-ups in this instance are elected members of the U.S. House and Senate and their staffs.

  • The prosecutors will likely come from a little-publicized branch of the United States Department of Justice called the Public Integrity Section who are responsible for nailing public officials who have misused their office for personal gain - their own or their friends. And these guys are tough.

  • Everyone in Washington on Tuesday was focused on Ohio Rep. Bob Ney and, of course, Tom DeLay. But the ripples of the Abramoff Effect will splash up on dozens of Representatives and Senators from both parties.

  • Here's why:

  • A standard bit of petty bribery is for lobbyists - perfectly honest lobbyists - to ask a Congressman or Senator for their support for, or opposition to, a bill or some Executive Agency action.

  • A campaign contribution is proffered - not a the exact moment of the request - but in close enough proximity so both parties understand what has been offered and what is expected.

  • The standard defense is:
    A spokesman for Congressman Galen (R-OH) said he was going to ask the Department of Interior to intercede on behalf of that mining company in New Mexico to stop the Japanese Company from dredging for minerals off the coast of Fiji anyway. The $5,000 donation from the Citizens for Fair Undersea Mining PAC to his campaign account was absolutely coincidental.

  • Right.

  • Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at