Selling Out, Abramoff Style

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The web of scandal surrounding Jack Abramoff has made for great political drama. But in some ways, it’s the story of a young man who, misguided as he may have been, got involved in politics to change the world. As he grew older, he climbed the ladder of Washington influence peddlers. The black art of lobbying brought him money and power—whatever was left of his Reagan-era idealism was left behind. (This arc was described by a recent Mother Jones piece, “The Fall of a True Believer.“)

Today’s New York Times details Abramoff’s $9 million dollar deal to arrange a single meeting between Bush and the President of Gabon. Compare that to Abramoff’s work in Africa in the 1980s, where he was deeply involved in an odd chapter of Cold War history: as a prominent or member of various groups working to organizing grassroots and congressional conservative support for anti-communist regimes and militias throughout Africa, it stands to reason that Abramoff did his fair share of roughing it as he helped to fight against the Red Empire.

Not nowadays. When negotiating the Gabon contract, through newly disclosed e-mails, Abramoff offered to travel to Africa, but only “on the basis by which I travel anywhere, being in a private aircraft, which bears a substantial cost unfortunately.” Yes, how unfortunate.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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