Alleged Democratic entanglements with Abramoff scandal lack factual basis

To the Editor:

Josh Eidelson’s editorial, “Abramoff case is a wakeup call for both sides of aisle” (1/10), succeeded where classes so often fail: It motivated me to do independent research. In particular, I was skeptical of Eidelson’s passing claim that Jack Abramoff “made strategic donations to members of both parties.” Sadly for the otherwise well-reasoned and well-written piece, it’s simply not true. Abramoff did not give a single cent to Democrats or Democratic causes.

With a little help from Google, I found Opensecrets.org, which contains comprehensive lists of political donations from major donors (search under “who gives” and “donor lookups”). Jack Abramoff’s list is enlightening. In the last three election cycles, he gave 129 donations for a total of $173,240. Recipients included numerous Republican officials (President Bush, Tom Delay, Ted Stevens, Eric Cantor, etc.) and prominent conservative PACs (e.g. Americans for a Republican Majority). However, there isn’t a single Democrat or Democratic organization on the list. A 2002 donation to Bob Smith (a Democrat from New Jersey) gave me pause until I discovered the true recipient was in fact another Bob Smith, a Republican Senatorial candidate from New Hampshire in 2002.

Republicans are desperately searching for connections between Abramoff and Democrats to diffuse the scandal, and connections can always be found if one looks hard enough. The media has picked up these second and third degree associations (e.g. through the casinos for which he lobbied), and even has invented first degree associations, to paint this debacle as (slightly) bipartisan. However, the real indicators of Abramoff’s associations are his personal donations, and those conclusively show that this is a strictly Republican scandal.

Eli Luberoff ’08

Jan. 11, 2006

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