In todays installment of THE MONEY TRAIL, we will meet Abramoff’s partners, his business associates and his highly placed friends.
Once again our thanks go to project researcher, Kate McConn, for making this EXCLUSIVE FEATURE possible.
- Denis Donovan
Michael Scanlon - pleaded guilty November 21 to conspiring to bribe a congressman (AKA “Representative # 1 = Bob Ney) and other public officials and agreed to pay back more than $19 million he fraudulently charged Indian tribal clients.
Adam Kidan - Abramoff’s partner in the SunCruz Casino gambling boats. Copped a plea on fraud charges on Dec. 15 and will provide information on Abramoff to clear his plate before handling the greater threat of a charge in the murder of Gus Boulis. A caterer Kidan hired (Moscatiello) and a security guard (Ferrari) were charged in the murder. Kidan also has history of mafia associations. Ironically, Kidan’s mother was slain in an unrelated mob hit years earlier.
Edward P. Ayoob - Abramoff lobbyist working for Tyco. Former aide to Harry Reid
Fred Baggett - Abramoff lobbyist. Chair of firm’s National Governmental Affairs Practice.
David S. Cordish - Baltimore-based financial advisor and developer. With Manhattan-based Richard Fields, Cordish owned Power Plant Entertainment. Robert Toussie, who provided almost $3 million to Richard Fields to invest in Power Plant Entertainment, was indicted in federal court in Central Islip on four counts of tax evasion in June 2004 and struck a deal with the IRS. (Source = Statement from United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. — USET) Cordish advised the Seminole Tribe of Florida with 2 casino complexes. The Seminoles severed ties with Cordish after the IRS came after them for using tax-exempt bonds for refinancing. The IRS has opened at least eight similar audits of Indian financing across the country. Tribes argue the government is being too restrictive of Indian bond issues. Power Plant’s fee = roughly $1.275 billion (Source = Baltimore Sun). Cordish had worked with Donald Trump.
Cordish also leased the-vacant Rainbow Centre Mall in Niagara Falls, NY, saying he would renovate, but he continued to let the mall run down. Cordish secretly lobbied Albany politicians and the Seneca Nation of Indians to take the mall off his hands for use as a casino.
Todd A. Boulanger - Abramoff lobbyist. Worked several years for ex-Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH). Handled Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana both under Abramoff and now at Cassidy & Associates Inc.
Abramoff team member Tony Rudy, former aide to Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), introduced Boulanger to his wife, Jessica Incitto, who is a former DeLay staffer and former Press Secretary to Rep. Roy Blunt. Incitto now works for Progress for America, a Republican voter non-profit (501c4).
Boulanger drafted a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton on behalf of the Louisiana Coushatta tribe. That letter was signed by Hastert, DeLay, and Blunt.
Abramoff collected about $32 million from the Coushattas.
Trevor Blackann - Abramoff lobbyist. Former staffer of Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Kit Bond (R-MO).
Married Laura Brookshire, a staffer to Tom DeLay.
Ed Buckham - Former DeLay Chief of Staff and Abramoff lobbyist.
Runs Alexander Strategy Group, which employs Tony Rudy and Tom DeLay’s wife, Christine.
Buckham worked for Enron in its bid to build an energy plant in the Northern Marianas, but they lost the bid.
Will Brooke - Former Chief of Staff of Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT).
Brooke reportedly received more money from Abramoff than anyone else.
Brooke flew on Abramoff’s corporate jet to the 2001 Super Bowl to attend the game at Abramoff’s invitation while still working for Burns.
Burns helped secure a controversial $3 million grant for one of Abramoff’s tribal clients, the Saginaw Chippewa tribe of Michigan to build a school.
The money was awarded over the objections of the Department of Interior.
Brooks quit working for Burns shortly after that in December 2003, and started working for Abramoff’s firm.
In 2005, Brooke started his own lobbying firm in Bozeman.
Duane Gibson - Former aide to Don Young (R-AK).
Samuel Hook - A partner in Greenberg Traurig.
Ran Grassroots Interactive for Abramoff.
Started the company Federal Program Services LLC, which existed for a year.
His wife also worked for Abramoff.
Tony C. Rudy - Abramoff lobbyist.
Former top aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX)
Received money from eLottery, which sent a check to phony charity Toward Tradition, which then hired Lisa Rudy, Tony’s wife.
Now works at the Alexander Strategy Group with Delay’s wife and Ed Buckham.
Kevin A. Ring - Abramoff lobbyist dealing with Indian tribes and the Marianas.
Former staffer for Doolittle (R-CA) and also worked on CATPAC, a PAC run by Doolittle. Ring plead the 5th under questioning by McCain in the Senate.
Ring is still working for the Choctaws, now at Barnes & Thornburg LLP.
Created the limited-liability company KAR LLC, based out of his home address.
KAR received a check for $25,000 in 2003 from Grassroots Interactive, which he returned when the scandal broke.
KAR also received $125,000 from Scanlon’s company, Capitol Campaign Strategies, which came from the Pueblo of Sandia Tribe.
Michael Smith - Abramoff lobbyist working with Iowa Meskwaki tribe (Bear faction).
Was a Gore campaign manager and his sister is a legislative aide to Tom Harkin.
A dispute between the Bear faction, which took control of the tribe away from the Walker faction, led to closing the casino until things could be resolved.
There were lobbyists on both sides, Abramoff for the Bear group.
Shawn Vasell - Abramoff lobbyist.
Former Aide to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT).
Worked on Florida recount along with Tony Rudy, Todd Boulanger, and Duane Gibson (“Republican riot”).
Pled the 5th under questioning by McCain in the Senate.
Neil G. Volz - Abramoff lobbyist.
Former Chief of Staff to Bob Ney (R-OH).
UNISYS was a client.
Ralph Reed - Former Christian Coalition head (1989–1997).
Candidate for GA Lieutenant Governor
Reed has known Abramoff (and Nordquist) since his College Republican days in the early 80s.
Money is like water down the side of the mountain. It will find a way to get around the trees. — Ralph Reed quoted in the Weekly Standard
Abramoff sent eLottery money to a Reed company, using two intermediaries to obscure the source.
On behalf of Abramoff, Ralph Reed recruited Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson to go on the radio and incite his followers to oppose legalized gambling. Abramoff’s eLottery funds also paid Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition for anti-gambling efforts.
Reed worked as a consultant on 2 Alabama anti-gambling campaigns against a state lottery and video poker. That money came from a Mississippi Indian tribe trying to protect its casinos from competition. “We just turned around and wrote out the check to them,” John Giles of Montgomery, president of the Alabama Christian Coalition, which accepted $850,000, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (5/18/05).
They also said that Americans for Tax Reform wrote a check in 1999 for $300,000 to Citizens Against Legalized Lottery in Birmingham.
Reed received $4.2 million from Abramoff’s firm for lobbying in Texas in 2001 and 2002 before registering as a lobbyist, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
In Texas, his efforts to close one tribe’s casino were surreptitiously funded by rival tribes.
His firm also received $150,000 from Jack Abramoff’s client, eLottery, as part of his effort to kill an anti-gambling bill. (The money was used to attack GOP House members who backed the bill.)
Reed rallied the religious community against the casinos and met with state lawmakers to kill a bill that would reopen the Tiguas casino (another Abramoff client), according to his e-mails.
Tim Phillips, VP of Ralph Reed’s Atlanta-based Century Strategies, and Tim Cox, co-owner with Phillips of the political consulting firm New Dominion Strategies, helped create a supposedly “non-partisan” tax-exempt organization in Virginia called the Faith and Family Alliance.
Robin Vanderwall served as the organization’s Executive Director.
Robin Vanderwall is now cooperating in the Abramoff investigation. Washington Post quotes (Nov. 3) — “Vanderwall is now serving a seven-year prison term after he was convicted of soliciting sex from a minor on the Internet.
In telephone interviews and correspondence from state prison, Vanderwall said the nonprofit group, Faith and Family Alliance, was used as a pass-through to fund Abramoff’s campaign against an Internet gambling ban and to attack U.S. House candidate Eric I. Cantor in his 2000 primary race.”
“Money was sent from a client of Abramoff’s to Americans for Tax Reform, which kept a portion.
The rest was routed to Faith and Family, records show. Vanderwall then made out a check for the identical amount and sent it to the political consulting firm where Phillips is vice president.
That firm was founded by former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed, an Abramoff friend.
The money was meant to attack conservative Republicans who backed the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, a review of records shows.”
Four days before Virginia’s June 12 GOP primary, the Alliance sent out a mailing attacking congressional candidate Eric I. Cantor to boost the prospects of his opponent State Sen. Stephen H. Martin, who had hired Tim Phillips.
Virginia’s Republican attorney general candidate Robert F. McDonnell paid $1,460,133 to Phillips and Cox’s firm, New Dominion Strategies. McDonnell also had used Vanderwall as his campaign manager.
Century Strategies – (Reed’s Firm) was supposed to be a “PR,” firm not a lobbying firm.
ENRON was one of its first clients (1997), and the company helped push deregulation through the PA legislature.
Another early client supported Puerto Rican statehood.
Another was Channel One, which used Preston Gates as its lobbying firm.
The company pushed for permanent normal trade relations with China in spring 2000.
Grover Nordquist - Allied with Abramoff.
He also was partners with former Bush head procurement man, David Safavian. Nordquist’s anti-tax organization Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) was used as a conduit for money to Faith and Family Alliance (tied to Reed) for work on behalf of his gambling clients. He received $360,000 from the Mississippi Band of Choctaws.
Nordquist also co-founded Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA) with Gale Norton.
This group was used to funnel money and contact the Interior Department on behalf of the Indian tribes.
WILKES/WADE LOBBY NETWORK
Brent Wilkes - Between 1992 and 1997, Brent Wilkes worked for Audre Inc., run by Tom Casey, and during that time employees and family members donated $77,000 to members of Congress.
Audre is tied to Evergreen Information Technologies of Colorado, which often gave donations to the same members of congress on the same days. ($20,000 out of $22,000 in donations were ruled illegal.)
After Wilkes broke from Audre and started his own firm, Duncan Hunter continued to support Audre’s software against Wilkes’s. Thereafter, Wilkes started donating to Cunningham.
Brent Wilkes’s high-school football buddy and best friend is Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo, currently the number 3 man at the CIA.
Wilkes and Foggo were roommates at San Diego State, were best men at each other’s weddings, and named their sons after each other (according to the San Diego Union-Tribune).
Wilkes companies (some of which shared the same address or fax number) =
ADCS Inc. — document-conversion software licensed from a German firm. Records have been subpoenaed by Ronnie Earle.
ADCS PAC — which used a separate address from ADCS Inc. and had its own pseudo companies),
Acoustical Communication Systems
Al Dust Properties — real estate
Archer Logistics — Wilkes’s nephew, Joel Gaylen Combs, runs. Has CIA contracts.
Group W Transportation — consists of a time share in a corporate jet used to fly congress members around
Group W Holdings — another real estate company
Group W Media — an advertising agency (also ran Mirror Labs, or used same address)
Group W Advisors — a lobbying group that hired Alexander Strategy Group (where Tom DeLay’s wife and former chief of staff work)
Liberty Defense Tech.
MailSafe Inc. — mail decontamination/digitizing
Mirror Labs — supposedly a company that tests military equipment
PerfectWave Technologies — speech recognition software. Donated $15,000 to DeLay’s group Texans for a Republican Majority. Records have been ubpoenaed by Ronnie Earle.
Pure Aqua Technologies
The Poway Mafia
These companies have received an estimated $95 million in government contracts since 1996 (source — San Diego Union-Tribune). Wilkes spent at least $600,000 on political contributions and $1.1 million on lobbying.
ADCS got earmarks of $25 million for digitizing software that was largely unnecessary. ADCS got a $9.7 million contract for digitizing documents, including Panama Canal Zone documents that went back to the Teddy Roosevelt administration.
Wilkes ran a hospitality suite, for politicians with several bedrooms, in Washington — first in the Watergate Hotel, then in the Westin Grand near Capitol Hill.
Mitchell J. Wade - has a Navy Intelligence background, and he started by working with Wilkes.
In September 2002, the General Services Administration signed a blanket purchase agreement (no-bid contract) with MZM totaling $250 million over five years.
Wade’s first contract for $140,000 was to supply office furniture and computers for VP Cheney’s office.
MZM also gained a contract with the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) and two months later, MZM hired the son of the NGIC executive director (William Scott Rich III).
Then, MZM got an even bigger NGIC contract.
NGIC is the group that said Iraq’s aluminum tubes could be used for a centrifuge.
George W. Bush - met with President Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon after he paid Abramoff money. Abramoff asked for $9 million.
Wilkes raised at least $100,000 for President Bush’s 2004 re-election bid.
Abramoff also raised $100,000, $36,000 of which came from Northern Marianas island donors, mostly the Tan family.
Lewis Libby – VP Cheney’s Chief of Staff.
Indicted on 5 counts of obstruction of justice and false statements in Plame leak case.
Karl Rove - Under threat of indictment in Plame case. Robert Luskin is Rove’s attorney.
Henry Schuelke - the attorney for Viveca Novac.
Schuelke is also the attorney for Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s old firm.
Rove’s e-mail to Hadley regarding his conversation with Cooper wasn’t turned over with the other documents after the subpoena.
Susan Bonzon Ralston - Rove’s deputy.
She is presumably the most influential Filipino American in the Bush Administration. Ralston patched a call from a reporter to Rove linked to the Plame leak case.
The White House denied a report that she recently moved to Commerce Dept.
Prior to her current position, Ralston was the Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs at Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s firm.
Quotes from Ralston e-mails (source Polysigh blog, by Philip Klinkner, Oct. 16):
“’I have 3 checks from elot: (1) 2 checks for $80K payable to ATR and (2) 1 check to TVC for $25K,’ Abramoff’s assistant Susan Ralston e-mailed him on June 22, 2000. ‘Let me know exactly what to do next. Send to Grover? Send to Rev. Lou?’ “Minutes later Abramoff responded, saying that the check for Sheldon’s group should be sent directly to Sheldon, but that the checks for Norquist required special instructions: ‘Call Grover, tell him I am in Michigan and that I have two checks for him totaling 160 and need a check back for Faith and Family for $150K.’
“According to the e-mails, Reed provided the name and address where Norquist was supposed to send the money: to Robin Vanderwall at a location in Virginia Beach.”
David H. Safavian - The Bush administration’s top federal procurement official.
Charged last month with obstructing a federal investigation and lying to a federal investigator.
Resigned after being arrested for repeated false statements to government officials and investigators about a golf trip with Abramoff to Scotland in 2002 paid for by eLottery. Was involved in $1 billion UNISYS deal for TSA.
Safavian’s wife is chief counsel for oversight and investigations on the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees procurement matters, although she’s said she’ll recuse herself.
Safavian worked for Preston Gates with Abramoff in the 90s.
Timothy E. Flanigan - Former Tyco employee nominated for Deputy Attorney General who withdrew after connections were shown with Abramoff.
Patrick Pizzella - Former Abramoff lobbyist who became Assistant Secretary of Labor for Administration and Management in the Bush Administration.
DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
Italia Federici - Head of “environmental” organization founded by Norton and Norquist to work against environmental causes: Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA).
Personal friend of Norton’s.
Received $300,000 from Indian tribes, including $50,000 from Iowa Meskwaki tribe alone.
Used to funnel money to and contact J. Steven Griles.
Held fundraisers at Abramoff’s restaurant, Signatures.
J. Steven Griles - Deputy to Gale Norton.
Abramoff contacted through Federici.
Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo - was promoted to CIA Executive Director (number 3 job) by Porter Goss (formerly Rep. R-FL).
Best friend and high-school chum of Brent Wilkes of ADCS, who is one of the people who bribed Duke Cunningham and others.
Frederick A. Black - Acting U.S. attorney for Guam. Black was demoted a day after issuing a subpoena for lobbying contracts between Abramoff and the Guam Superior Court. Black was also pulled off the Abramoff case, which involved $324,000, laundered $9,000 at a time, to lobby against a bill in Congress giving the Guam Supreme Court jurisdiction over the superior court.
CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION
Political appointees in Civil Rights overruled the career professionals in approving DeLay’s 2003 Texas gerrymander and Georgia’s voter regulation scheme (later blocked by a federal judge) to require voters to buy identification cards that weren’t for sale anywhere in Atlanta.
Our series, THE MONEY TRAIL, will conclude tommorow with a list of US Senators and Representatives, many of whom will probably be candidates for Presidential Pardons in 2006.