Jack Abramoff: Tyco

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

In "a written statement," Timothy E. Flanigan, when nominated by President George W. Bush to be Deputy Attorney General of the United States, said that "Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts," R. Jeffrey Smith wrote in the September 23, 2005, Washington Post.

"To review the highlights of our story," Josh Marshall wrote September 25, 2005, "Timothy Flanigan was appointed Deputy White House Counsel at the beginning of the Bush administration. He later left that job to become General Counsel of Tyco Corporation, which had relocated to Bermuda to avoid paying taxes to the US Treasury. At Tyco, Flanigan hired Abramoff to fend off legislation which would have forced Tyco to pay its taxes. And, in the course of that hiring and work, Abramoff first boasted of his access to [Tom] DeLay, Rove and others and then later claimed that he had spoken to Rove and enlisted his assistance on Tyco's behalf."

Marshall noted September 23, 2005, that "any suggestion that Abramoff had just fooled Flanigan into believing that he had more access than he had was highly implausible since Flanigan, as Al Gonzales' deputy at the White House, would have gotten a good sense of who Abramoff was and the level of juice he had with Rove and other Republican power-brokers."

"On paper," Marshall said September 25, 2005, "Jack Abramoff was a lobbyist. And he made a great deal of money for himself. But if you think of Jack Abramoff as just a crooked lobbyist most of the facts coming out about what he did don't make a great deal of sense. He was a key player in a very big political machine and he was managing a slush fund."

"Look at the pattern," Marshall said. "Notice how all Abramoff's clients seemed to get 'bilked' out of large sums of money that ended up going to other conservative foundations, consulting firms, Ralph Reed, lobby shops, Grover Norquist, astroturf organizers, politicians, etc.? All of them part of Washington's Republican infrastructure?

"In the case of Abramoff's work for Flanigan and Tyco, Abramoff ended up sending the greater part of their $2 million lobbying fee to an astroturf outfit called GrassRoots Interactive -- an outfit allegedly controlled by Abramoff and run by a guy who now works as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor of Maryland."

Regarding the relationship between Abramoff and Tyco, Marshall asked whether Tyco was just another "corporation which hires a lawyer out of the White House only to get taken in by Jack Abramoff's wiles? Please. How many times can one operator pull off the same stunt? How many times do big chunks of these pay days get passed on to other operators and organizations without the operators and organizations getting wise to the game?

"These odd diversions aren't the exception but the rule," Marshall said. "The Republican machine built by DeLay, Norquist, Abramoff, et al. and pulled into high gear after 2001, is a pay-for-play political machine. This is just another part of the operation, like the diktat for trade associations to hire only Republicans. Big political machines need their soldiers taken care of -- jobs on K Street which also discipline the trade associations under Hill leadership. Just so, they need big sums of money to move around off the books. How does Rove keep the millions moving to Norquist? To Reed? To all the other operatives whose names you don't know about?

"Indian tribes bursting with millions who need very focused sorts of legislative intervention -- that's one good source of money. Corrupt Pacific Island governments who need similar help -- another good source.

"If Tyco wanted help, they had to pay in. That's what the $2 million was. Of course it got passed on to some other GOP outfit with Abramoff connections. That was the point!," Marshall said.

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links

See lengthy lists of articles related to Jack Abramoff's corruption and related scandals.

General Links and Information, Articles & Commentary for 2002

Articles & Commentary for 2004

Articles & Commentary for 2005