Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jack Abramoff: Ron Paul is Incorruptible

THE STATE COLUMN | March 11, 2012
Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist and businessman, has a very high opinion of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Mr. Abramoff, who made an appearance on “The Power Hour” with Joyce Riley last week, was convicted in 2006 on charges of fraud, corruption and conspiracy.

As Mr. Abramoff discussed the pressure lobbyists can place on lawmakers, the former lobbyist noted that “Ron Paul was just never somebody that you went to lobby.” Mr. Abramoff added that Mr. Paul typically “agreed with you already. You’d go in and say ‘look, would you get more active on it,’ but otherwise there was just no chance of lobbying Ron Paul.”

Mr. Abramoff’s assessment of Mr. Paul is especially relevant in the 2012 presidential race as congressional ethics are still at the forefront of the American political scene. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, for example, faced an ethics investigation in the 1990s and eventually received a reprimand and a $300,000 penalty.

Although Mr. Paul is generally considered to be above suspicion, Roll Call slammed the former Air Force surgeon in February for receiving reimbursement from taxpayer cash and campaign funds for trips between his congressional district and Washington DC. Roll Call cited public records and documents as it made the case that Mr. Paul received thousands of dollars in excess payments for his trips.

Regardless of the validity of Roll Call’s story, Mr. Abramoff is convinced that a lawmaker like Mr. Paul is very rare in the halls of Congress. “He’s the kind of congressman who the founders had in mind when this country was founded.”

Quoting a conversation that she had had with Mr. Paul in 2006, Ms. Riley said that the Texas congressman told her that “If I run for president, it will only be because I think it is the last ditch effort to save this country.”

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