Jack Abramoff nemesis' role cited in film

Jan. 26, 2010 at 5:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The man who brought down ex-Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff said he did it to help fellow American Indians, not to steal clients or benefit Democrats.

Tom Rodgers, also a Washington lobbyist whose role in bringing down Abramoff is highlighted in a new documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, said his actions would have been the same even if all the corrupt players had been Democrats, The Hill reported Tuesday.

In a story first reported in 2008 by the Canastota, N.Y., weekly Indian Country Today, Rodgers says he was tipped off to Abramoff's fraudulent business dealings with the Saginaw Chippewa of Mount Pleasant, Mich., by members of American Indian tribes and worked behind the scenes, gathering incriminating information against Abramoff.

Abramoff was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court Jan. 3, 2006, to felony counts for defrauding four American Indian tribes and corrupting public officials.

Rodgers' secret efforts in exposing Abramoff were featured in a documentary that premiered Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival, "Casino Jack and the United States of Money," The Hill reported.

Rodgers' work since 2003 helped to convict Abramoff and former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and to force from office then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. Rodgers' actions helped the Democrats regain the House and Senate majorities in 2006 and Congress went on to pass the most comprehensive ethics law since the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, The Hill reported.

Rodgers said he wonders when members of the Washington community later write books about illegal or immoral activities they knew were happening at the time, "Well, then why didn't you do something then?"

"What's important is that the tribes that were defrauded and cheated and the abused did something about it, and we did it when it mattered," Rodgers said.

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