Abramoff lobby ploy: Dangle job to aides

Nov. 7, 2011 at 5:11 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Disgraced ex-U.S. lobbyist Jack Abramoff says the best way he got top congressional aides to do his will was to dangle a job that could triple their salary.

"When we would become friendly with an office and they were important to us, and the chief of staff was a competent person, I would say or my staff would say to him or her at some point, 'You know, when you're done working on the Hill, we'd very much like you to consider coming to work for us,'" Abramoff told the CBS News program "60 Minutes."

"Now the moment I said that to them or any of our staff said that to 'em, that was it. We owned them," he said. "And what does that mean? Every request from our office, every request of our clients, everything that we want, they're gonna do. And not only that, they're gonna think of things we can't think of to do."

Abramoff amassed a fortune showering gifts on congressional and executive branch officials in the George W. Bush administration while bilking Indian tribes of an estimated $20 million. He pleaded guilty in 2006 to felony counts involving fraud, corruption and conspiracy.

Also convicted were Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles; General Services Administration Chief of Staff David Safavian, U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and nine other lobbyists and congressional aides, who all resigned in the scandal's wake.

Abramoff served 3 1/2 years of a six-year sentence at a minimum-security prison and was released in 2010.

When asked if he could do the same thing today, with lobbying reforms since the scandal, Abramoff immediately said: "Yeah. The system hasn't been cleaned up at all.

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