Jack Abramoff: Profiles

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The following are profiles for political insider Jack Abramoff (born February 28, 1958).

Early years

Abramoff was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where his father (who had ties to Ronald Reagan) worked with Arnold Palmer Enterprises. When he was 10, Jack's family moved to Beverly Hills, California, where he eventually became a high-school weightlifting champ who once squatted 540 pounds. He was raised in a secular Jewish household, but a viewing of Fiddler on the Roof at the age of 12 changed his life: "I made the decision that I would become religious in order to preserve the faith in our family," he said. He immediately bought books on Judaism with his own savings

College years

In college, Abramoff organized Massachusetts campuses for Reagan's presidential campaign in 1980. A year later he graduated from Brandeis University and the Georgetown University Law Center.

Abramoff was soon elected chairman of the College Republican National Committee with the campaign being managed by Grover Norquist and aided by Ralph E. Reed, Jr.. "It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the Left," Abramoff was quoted as saying in the group's 1983 annual report, "Our job is to remove them from power permanently."

Abramoff chaired the CNRC from 1981 to 1985. During his tenure, he "changed the direction of the committee and made it more activist and conservative than ever before," notes the CNRC. [1] In 1982 he also became the executive director of the political action committee of the Conservative Caucus—a position he still held as of early 1990. He also served as chairman of the United Students of America, a rightist student group based at the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

Abramoff next joined Citizens for America (CFA), a Reaganite group that helped Oliver North build support for the Nicaraguan contras. According to the Interhemispheric Resource Center, "CFA produced slick anticommunist publications targeting the Sandinista government which were distributed to interested audiences along with materials of the State Department, the Defense Department, Heritage Foundation, and the Senate Republican Policy Committee. The group also sponsored a major public relations campaign for the Nicaraguan contras, including a 1985 national tour of contra leaders to 200 congressional districts and a barrage of pro-contra aid radio and newspaper ads in 1986." According to a now-declassified document for the United States National Security Council, Abramoff and CFA were assigned responsibility for organizing briefings by contra speakers and telephone trees "to targeted congressional offices encouraging them to vote for aid to the freedom fighters in Nicaragua." [2]

Abramoff also staged an unprecedented meeting of anti-Communist rebel leaders in 1985 in Jamba, Angola. "I spent Shabbos in Jamba, and when I went out to pray," he recalled, the locals thought he was a "mystic." Things ended when the group's millionaire founder, Lewis Lehrman, a former New York gubernatorial candidate, concluded that Abramoff had spent his money carelessly.

After college, Abramoff had a brief career as a movie producer in Hollywood. From 1986–94 he was president of Regency Entertainment Group, producing such movies as Red Scorpion, an anti-communist film made just after his term with the College Republicans ended.

Greenberg Traurig Biography

  • An archive of Abramoff's biography from the Greenberg Traurig website describes him as follows:
Jack Abramoff's practice focuses on building legislative coalitions, grassroots organizing and Washington, DC based lobbying efforts. Jack is considered a top issues strategist. He has been consistently named as one of the nation's most powerful and effective lobbyists in rankings by publications including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, National Journal, Roll Call and Washingtonian Magazine. Jack is directly involved in the Republican party and conservative movement leadership structures and is one of the leading fund raisers for the party and its congressional candidates. He is a former executive director of President Ronald Reagan's grassroots lobbying organization, Citizens For America, where he directed and crafted lobbying efforts on a broad range of issues. Jack also had a direct role in shaping the agenda of the second Reagan presidential term, which, in its later applications, ultimately brought the Republican Party to control of Congress in 1994.
"Before this position, Jack was twice elected Chairman of the College Republican National Committee beginning in 1981. He was [sic] oversaw the largest and most effective College Republican National Committee ever, with over 1100 chapters nationwide. He also changed the direction of the committee and made it more activist and conservative than ever before. Jack ran our most successful field programs until that time with very little funding by sending the field representatives out in vans to recruit for months at a time, making the committee more successful than ever before. Jack brought two famous future activists into his administration, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, as his Executive Directors. Before this time Jack ran the youth effort for Reagan in Massachusetts which produced 10,000 absentee ballot votes in Reagan's 3000 vote margin of victory. Jack designed and ran the anti nuclear freeze campaign. He is a regular lecturer at Georgetown Law Center on entertainment law topics. Jack has hands-on experience in the entertainment industry, he spent ten years as the producer of a number of feature motion pictures including Red Scorpion, an anti communist film made just after Jack's term as national chairman of the College Republicans.'

Source: Internet Archive: http://web.archive.org/web/20030612020908/http://gtlaw.com/bios/govadmin/abramoffj.htm (Copy and paste complete URL in browser.)

Professional Experience

"Lobbyist with Greenberg Traurig, Jan. 2001-March 2004; founder of Eshkol Academy, a school for Orthodox Jews in Montgomery County, Md., 2001; lobbyist with Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, 1994-2001; Hollywood film producer as president of Regency Entertainment Group, 1986-94; director, Citizens for America, pro-Reagan lobbying group, 1985; chairman of college Republicans and member of executive committee, Republican National Committee, early to mid-1980s." [3]

External Links: Biographical

Wikipedia also has an article on Jack Abramoff: Profiles. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.