Monday, April 23, 2007

Another Abramoff casualty

Mark Zachares, a former aide to Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, apparently is preparing to plead guilty to conspiracy charges.

In exchange for helping Abramoff get clients and business, Zachares was supposed to receive "credit" that would be applied when he landed a job at Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig. (The plan never got that far.)

According to prosecutors, Zachares helped Abramoff get an advance copy of a Justice Department threat report on Guam. He also provided Abramoff information about the Department of Homeland Security reorganization and helped Abramoff develop strategies to win DHS business for clients. Zachares also advised Abramoff's Sun Cruz venture on bureaucratic regulations.

He was a loyalist to the core. In emails Zachares reiterated "his willingness to use his position to retaliate against individuals or entities who had retained competing lobbying firms," according to the filing.

His loyalty came with perks. Zachares accepted trips, money, meals drinks, golf and tickets to sporting events. Many people have taken sports tickets from Abramoff, but Zachares' tally hits high on the list: between August 2002 and February 2004 he racked up more than $30,000 worth of tickets on more than 40 occasions. He also traveled with Abramoff to Scotland in August 2003. And in January and February 2002 Zachares received two $5,000 payments from Abramoff through a wire transfer from the Capitol Athletic Foundation, one of Abramoff's nonprofits.

Added to the Hall of Shame.

Update: As expected, Zachares pleaded guilty. He's expected to get about two years in prison.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder when the investigation will tag Harry Reid?

"Reid Aided Abramoff Clients, Records Show"

Feb 9 05:17 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid wrote at least four letters helpful to Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff, and the senator's staff regularly had contact with the disgraced lobbyist's team about legislation affecting other clients."

Howard Dean Implicates Harry Reid in Abramoff Scandal

"Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Sunday that Democrats who took money from Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff and who did something on behalf of those tribes have "a big problem."

Dean made the statement apparently unaware that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has reportedly done exactly that."

"A source close to the investigation says Abramoff told prosecutors that more than $30,000 in campaign contributions to Reid from Abramoff's clients "were no accident and were in fact requested by Reid."


4/23/2007 4:40 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

If Reid is dirty, he should go down. But doing business with Abramoff isn't the problem; breaking the law to do so is. Thus far, there's no evidence he did so.

4/23/2007 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You simply choose to "IGNORE" such evidence. Even Howard Dean got it....when he said that "anybody who took money from Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff and who did something on behalf of those tribes have "a big problem."

That's Harry Reid. He took money from the lobbyist and he made calls to the Indian tribes on their behalf. I don't see why that's only a big "no no" when a Republican did it....but NOT Harry Reid.


4/23/2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Since when have you used Howard Dean's standards?

Reid did a lot of stuff for Indian tribes before Abramoff. The trick is demonstrating an illegal quid pro quo. So far, that's lacking.

4/24/2007 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So---Howard Dean's standards should ONLY apply to Republicans?? I'm just saying at least be consistent. Why is it that a Democrat like Reid gets a benefit of the doubt....but not any of the Republicans? I thought it was about the "perception of inpropriety" and "the seriousness of the charges?"


4/24/2007 9:10 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Please point to where I've said anything about "perception of impropriety" or advocated kicking people out of office based on unproven charges.

Also note that, in the case of Reid, there are no charges. So even by that standard there'd be nothing to do.

I fully support investigating his dealings. But I'm not going to hang him until there's actual evidence to do so.

4/24/2007 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many times DOES one have to spell out the logic to partisan hacks? Mark Zachares has been tried on criminal charges. Harry Reid has not been charged with a crime.
Jeez. You hear all sorts of fallacies when partisans try to argue something.

4/24/2007 4:59 PM  

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