Judicial Watch • First Tier of Lawmakers Revealed in Abramoff Scandal

First Tier of Lawmakers Revealed in Abramoff Scandal

First Tier of Lawmakers Revealed in Abramoff Scandal

JANUARY 11, 2006

Yesterday during the Alito confirmation hearings, Senator Graham (R-SC), speaking after Senator Feingold’s tough questioning regarding the Vanguard case in which Alito initially didn’t recuse himself, made a joke about the Abramoff scandal:

That was an interesting exchange. I guess there’s no rule against beating a dead horse, or we’d all have quit a long time ago. (LAUGHTER) So in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to ask you the same questions you’ve been asked for a whole day. (LAUGHTER) And I hope you’ll understand if any us come before a court and we can’t remember Abramoff, you will tend to believe us.

This produced some genuine laughs in an audience that sorely needed some excitement after a full day of questioning, but Graham’s jab at those connected to Abramoff, playful as it may have been, does no good in trivializing the serious ethical shortcomings of some members of Congress. (View the full transcript of Graham’s yesterday questioning of Alito).

Just a day after Graham’s joking, The Washington Times recently made known the identities of a “first tier” of lawmakers tied to the Abramoff scandal. The Justice Department is currently “scrutinizing” Sens. Conrad Burns, Montana Republican; Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat; and Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, along with Reps. J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Republican, and Bob Ney, Ohio Republican.

The Times also reported that “it is unknown whether any of the five will be charged in the case, the source said Abramoff was being ‘prepped’ by five Justice Department attorneys in that event.”

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