Good Luck Mr. Abramoff

December 4, 2010

Yesterday marked the release from custody for Jack Abramoff according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons web site.

On September 4, 2008 he was sentenced for fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Since June 8, 210 Mr. Abramoff has been assigned to a halfway house in Baltimore, MD. He was working at a kosher Pizza Shop, Tov's Pizza assisting with marketing strategies for the last six months.

I think it's odd that the media extensively covered his trial, sentencing and every movement, yet there is not even one article that I can locate about his release.

 I am disgusted with his lobbying work on behalf of the CNMI government. It perpetuated the suffering of hundreds of foreign contract workers by preventing the passage of federalization laws that could have spared them the indignity and injustice of being victims of illegal recruiters, being cheated, scammed, and otherwise abused. Abramoff's work on behalf of the CNMI painted an untrue and distorted picture of the situation in the CNMI. The lobbying efforts in the Philippines included meeting with Philippine officials to conduct a libelous campaign against my human rights work, and successful efforts to promote their flawed labor and immigration system.

A few years ago when my friend, Dennis handed me copies of the billing records that the CNMI received from Abramoff's lobbying firms, I was shocked to see my name among the pages. I was disgusted to see that the CNMI was billed over 140 hours to "prove" that the story about me and the victims of labor abuse in the Reader's Digest was false. (It was true.) I was disgusted to learn that the CNMI government spent an estimated $11 million dollars on a lobbying campaign of deceit and cover ups. The wasted funds that the CNMI spent on lobbying firms could have gone to building a power plant, funding the Public School System, Northern Marianas College, and the Commonwealth Health Center. All of the young women and minors who were trafficked into the CNMI illegally and coerced into prostitution or forced to perform sex acts on stage could have been spared -hundreds of them.

The efforts of Abramoff, his co-conspirators from right wing think tanks, foot soldiers from the US Congress, CNMI government officials, and wealthy business owners to successfully block federal reform legislation hurt many innocent people. The junkets, bribes, and deals were conducted on the backs of innocent workers. If the Akaka-Murkowski CNMI reform legislation had passed in the U.S. House after it was passed unanimously in the Senate in 2000, the CNMI would be a different place today. Abramoff, Tom Delay, Bob Schaffer, Don Young and others successfully blocked it in the House.

As much as I detest the irreversible damage of the lobbying deal between Abramoff and the CNMI, I believe Jack Abramoff is sincerely sorry for his crimes and takes responsibility for what he has done. Not only did he respond from prison to a letter that I wrote to him, but he stood before the court during his sentencing and admitted his guilt and apologized saying:
"I come before you as a broken man. I'm not the same man who happily and arrogantly engaged in a lifestyle of political and business corruption."
Jack Abramoff served his time, and unlike some of his co-conspirators, expressed regret and deep remorse for his crimes as evidenced by his letter to the judge. Among other things he wrote:
It is hard to see the exact moment that I went over the line, but look backwards, it is amazing for me to see how far I strayed and how I did not see it at the time. So much of what happens in Washington stretches the envelope, skirts the spirit of the rules, and lives in the loopholes. But even by those standards, I blundered farther than even though accesses would allow.
As I have sat alone in prison, realizing what my actions have done to permanently injure people, especially my family,I see that my crimes all had the same cause - my short sighted and selfish view that the ends could justify the means.  I am not a bad man (although to read all the news articles one would think that I was Osama Bin Laden), but I did many bad things. I lied to clients, even while working to get them the results that they expected. I cheated my law firm and took advantage of public officials. And, while I gave millions of dollars to charities, I thought I could then skirt the rules in paying the right amount of money to the government in taxes.
...I have a lot to make up for and a lot of amends to make. If I can earn more than a mere living again, I will be paying back those I have harmed for the rest of my life...

I wish Mr. Abramoff well. He now has a chance to turn his life around, and I sincerely hope that he will choose to do just that. Good luck, Mr. Abramoff.



Anonymous said...

It's gracious of you to wish him luck after what he did. If his words are real he'll go into a line of work far from what he did before. I doubt it though. He'll probably be working for the GOP within days so he can make a quick buck. Maybe he'll have his own talk show like Spitzer. Hope he invites you on!

Anonymous said...

Maybe he'll be on Dancing With the Stars!

Anonymous said...

If he really is remorseful on what he did, he will probably see that "to profit" on what he did is not a way forward.

captain said...

Almost all of the smart one that get convicted of crimes know how to say that matter and what the people that are in control want to hear.
First they get religion, then they configure a "sales pitch" to get the sympathy and condemn their own past actions.
Many will start a "ministry" in prison.
Many will give speeches to other about the past and how to "reform"
In the cases where parole is an option they practice the answers and statements to make sure that all on the board hear what they expect from a "reformed" criminal.

In the cases of a drug or alcohol addiction evaluation, the correct answers and "attitude" to the questions will also show negative results with a positive outcome for the court or other agency.

Lets see what will happen in the next 12 months.
His working in a friends Pizza place for the last six month gave him a chance to reestablish his contacts on a daily basis and to ultimately set things up for himself now that he is free.

I am pretty sure he is probably prohibited from working for any political entity or the Govt. Like so many other political figures that have been convicted.
Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

It's been over a day. still no news story about this. Are you sure he was released?

Wendy said...

Yes I am sure! See this link to the Federal Bureau of Prisons

Anonymous said...

Captain, Abramoff's commitment to Judaism has always been sincere.

I'm guessing he'll follow the example of David Barrett Cohen and dabble in Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe this subhuman got off so easy. he destroyed so many lives and gets a virtual slap on the wrist. And some folks believe the Feds will clean up the CNMI...please.