Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
Notorious Jack Abramoff
NEW YORK - Jack Abramoff, the former Washington lobbyist who was convicted for overcharging four American Indian tribes over $45 million in fees, was interviewed by veteran television journalist Lesley Stahl last night on "60 Minutes" in a segment called "Jack Abramoff: The lobbyist's playbook."
"Jack Abramoff may be the most notorious and crooked lobbyist of our time. He was at the center of a massive scandal of brazen corruption and influence peddling," began the segment.
"I was so far into it that I couldn't figure out where right and wrong was. I believed that I was among the top moral people in the business. I was totally blinded by what was going on," Abramoff told Stahl.
All in all, Abramoff at one time represented ten American Indian tribes as a lobbyist. In September, 2004 Abramoff was called before the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to explain the lobbying he did on behalf of American Indian tribes. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment.
The next year he was indicted for conspiring against and defrauding American Indian tribes. In early January 2006 he pleaded guilty to three felony charges - conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion - for his illegal actions against Indian tribes. He was sentenced to serve four years in prison for the charges involving the tribes.
The following from the transcript of the show:
Reporter Stahl: I really think what you were doing was - was subverting the essence of our system.
Abramoff: Yes. Absolutely right. But our system is flawed and has to be fixed. Human beings populate our system. Human beings are weak.
Stahl: And you preyed on that?
Abramoff: I did. I was one of many who did. I did. And I'm ashamed of that fact.
He may be ashamed, but he did not show much remorse, he simply blamed a flawed system and he did not apologize to the American Indian tribes he ripped off.
posted November 7, 2011 8:50 am est
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