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Lobbyist plea could entangle Washington

Dec. 29, 2005 at 2:20 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Authorities are putting together the pieces of the lobbying web of Jack Abramoff, and the resulting investigation could brew into a wide Washington scandal.

Abramoff is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 9 in Florida on charges he bilked former clients. Prosecutors are trying to convince him -- as they have some of his associates -- to enter a plea deal and help with further investigations. Considering Abramoff dealt with many members of Congress -- mostly Republicans but also some Democrats -- there are many uneasy people inside the Beltway.

Several lawmakers and staff members have been linked to trips arranged by Abramoff, who bragged of his access to highly placed officials. As a result many politicians have tried to distance themselves from Abramoff and some have returned thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the lobbyist or his various groups.

Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., told The Washington Post of a conversation he had with one of Abramoff's attorney who said, "There are going to be guys in your former line of work who are going to be taken down."

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