Jack Abramoff timeline

Jack Abramoff timeline


* 1981 - Elected Chairman of the College Republican National Committee in a campaign managed by Grover Norquist, the executive director of the CRNC.
* 1981 - recruits Ralph Reed as an unpaid intern for CNRC.
* 1981-1983 - With Reed and Norquist, purges "dissidents" and re-writes the CRNC's bylaws to consolidate their control.
* 1983 - Appoints Reed to succeed Norquist as executive director.
* 1986 - After earning law degree, worked for Boardwalk & Associates in Washington, DC as vice president.
* 1986 - Appointed to the Holocaust Memorial Council by President Ronald Reagan [http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1986/50386d.htm]
* 1986 - First major lobbyist job for the International Freedom Foundation (IFF) where he recruited a number of so-called useful idiots.


* December 1994 - Following the Republican takeover of Congress in the November 1994 elections, hired as a lobbyist at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, the lobbying arm of Preston Gates & Ellis LLP, based in Seattle, WA.
* 1995 - takes on the Northern Mariana Island of Saipan as a client. Abramoff and his firm are paid at least $6.7 million by the island's government from 1995 to 2001. [ [http://www.opacnmi.com/archives/m0105.html Office of the Public Auditor ] ]
* December 4-12, 1996 - Congressman Tom DeLay staffers Ed Buckham and Tony Rudy go on a trip funded by Abramoff to Saipan.
* December 31, 1996 - DeLay and his family go on a trip arranged by Abramoff to Saipan; the trip itself is paid for by the Saipan government.


* January 1997 - James Clyburn (D-SC) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) go on a trip funded by Abramoff to Saipan.
* 1997 - Tom DeLay, Northern Marianas lobbying.
** Frank Murkowski, then Senator from Alaska and chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee writes a bill to extend the protection of U.S. labor and minimum wage laws to the workers in the U.S. territory of the Northern Marianas. Then, and now, they are allowed to use the "Made in the USA" label.
** So compelling was the case for change (91 percent of the workforce were immigrants, and were being paid barely half the U.S. minimum hourly wage, were forced to live behind barbed wire in squalid shacks minus plumbing, work 12 hours a day, often seven days a week, etc.), the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Murkowski worker reform bill.
** As part of Abramoff's lobbying, Tom DeLay took a trip with his family and some staff members there in 1998. (On New Years Eve, there, is where DeLay called Abramoff "one of my closest and dearest friends."
** Abramoff funneled much of the money to his pet charities, including to Rabbi David Lapin for promoting ethics in government, and many DeLay charities.
** At least two people who worked on Abramoff's team at Preston Gates wound up with Bush administration jobs: Patrick Pizzella, named an assistant secretary of labor by George W. Bush; and David Safavian, chosen by Bush to oversee federal procurement policy in the Office of Management and Budget. (Safavian has recently been indicted relating to other lobby type problems with Abramoff).
** By 2001, DeLay has successfully stopped Murkowski's bill, and the Islands gained at least $2 million more in federal aid from the administration.


* 1999-2000 - Internet Gambling Prohibition Act
** Ralph Reed and Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition helped Abramoff with a "pro-gambling" campaign to prevent Internet gambling from being federally outlawed.
**Reed and Sheldon focused on parts of the bill which allowed loopholes for dog, horse racing, and jai-alai. This enabled them to oppose the bill on the basis that it was 'pro-gambling' even though it was a bill to restrict internet gambling (and the bill was otherwise supported by James Dobson of Focus on the Family)
** eLottery Inc was Abramoff's client [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/15/AR2005101501539.html How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck ] ]
** Money to Reed was laundered through Norquist's ATR, then through Robin Vanderwall, director of the Faith and Family Alliance, a shell company. Vanderwall was later convicted of soliciting minors via the Internet and is serving a seven-year term in Virginia State Prison.
**Tony Rudy, DeLay's Chief of Staff, funneled inside information on the bill to Abramoff.
**Abramoff funneled eLottery money through "Toward Tradition", which employed Rudy's wife
**Shandwick Worldwide - hired by Abramoff to get letters opposing IGPA from Jeb Bush.
**Florida man, Matthew Blair, told authorities in a plea bargain that he was hired to get letters opposing the bill from Bush and others, but created a forgery when this failed.
**Forged letter from Jeb Bush opposing IGPA circulated on House floor, caused confusion
**DeLay voted down on the bill, helped keep the bill off the floor for the rest of the session through procedural tricks (suspension calendar).
**eLottery paid for part of the 2000 Delay Scotland golf trip. Tony Rudy was invited as well.
**The bills' sponsors gave it another shot by trying to attach it to an appropriations bill.
**Reed and Sheldon focused on lobbying 10 conservative representatives in vulnerable districts
**The representatives told DeLay that their constituents were angry about the bill and did not want it passed; Rudy worked within DeLay's office to 'trump up' the concerns (manufactured by Reed and Sheldon) and get DeLay, Dennis Hastert to tell the caucus not to pursue the bill.
**Abramoff later hired Rudy after he left DeLay's office.

*"Late 1999" Edwin Buckham and Michael Scanlon travel to these CNMI in late 1999 to persuade two legislators to switch their votes for speaker of the 18-member House of Representatives in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. They succeeded. Once in office, the speaker pressed the island's governor to reinstate a lobbying pact with Jack Abramoff. [ [http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/pressclip.php?view=187 Ex-DeLay aides linked to Pacific island deal that enriched lobbyist | Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ] ]


* 2000 - DeLay Scotland golf trip
* 2000-2001 - He was part of the 2000 Florida Recount legal effort
** In 2001 moved to Greenberg Traurig. and poached some clients.
* February 2000 - SunCruz - Boulis enters into negotiations with Ambramoff and Adam Kidan regarding the sale of SunCruz
* March 30, 2000 - SunCruz - Congressman Bob Ney, (R-Ohio), enters criticism of Boulis into the Congressional Record. Michael Scanlon, a business partner with Abramoff, claims that he asked Ney to make these comments.
* September 27, 2000 - SunCruz - Kidan and Ben Waldman each fax to the lender showing that Kidan wired $23 million to Boulis' bank, consummating the sale, Boulis retains a 10 percent interest
* December 5, 2000 - SunCruz - Boulis and Kidan have a major argument at a meeting. Boulis claims Kidan is renegging on his payments, Kidan says Boulis attacked him. Kidan and Abramoff later agree, in email messages, that Boulis needs to be removed from SunCruz.
* December 13, 2000 - SunCruz - Kidan starts paying Moscatiello for food and security services


* February 6, 2001 - SunCruz - Boulis is shot and killed, gangland-style slaying
* June 22, 2001 - SunCruz - Suncruz files for bankruptcy
* July 12, 2001: Coal industry lobbyist J. Steven Griles becomes the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Interior.
* July 30, 2001 - SunCruz - A court awards majority control of SunCruz back to the Boulis estate. [cite web
title=Boulis Estate Regains Control of SunCruz
date=August 1, 2001
publisher=Gambling Magazine
accessdate=June 7
* 2001-2006 - He lobbied Congress and the administration on behalf of Native American tribes, some of which he has plead guilty to defrauding.
**Abramoff TribeScam outline:
***Around 2001, Abramoff went in search of a lobbying client who was naive and had a lot of money to spend. Abramoff found the LA Coushattas, whose casino was in debt. ($30 m) Abramoff gained the Coushattas trust, Coushatta needed help with LA people who wanted to shut them down. Some of the Coushatta expressed doubts against trusting JA, JA exploited the intra-tribal (and inter-tribal) politics to discredit 'dissidents'. Excellent perspective from the tribe [http://indian.senate.gov/2005hrgs/110205hrg/dsickey.pdf here] .
*In October 2001, JA convinced the Coushatta that TX legislature was going to allow Indian gambling. Exploited tribal fears of Tigua and AL Coushatta casinos in Texas, stealing their revenue from gamblers commuting from TX. This was the initial 'Phantom Menace' pitch to get the Coushatta to dish out $3.5 m in the first six months, to lobby against something which wasn't going to happen anyway.


*In January 2002, Jena Choctaw submitted compact to get approval for a casino (in Louisiana). [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30274-2005Mar12.html Casino Bid Prompted High-Stakes Lobbying (washingtonpost.com) ] ] Abramoff had Reed and Dobson do the first 'anti-gambling' crusade, resulting in first Jena shutdown. (Reed got $4 m altogether) Abramoff funneled cash to Federal level (Dept. of Interior, indirectly through CREA ($225 000), Gale Norton's former PAC, now run by Italia Federici to get access to Steven Griles and Gale Norton in the U.S. Department of the Interior) and cash to Senators and Representatives to write letters to Interior to stop Jena. Abramoff was on first-name basis with Griles, who arranged meetings between Coushatta and MS Choctaw chiefs (MS Choctaw also an Abramoff client, also opposed Jena) and Norton. Meetings occurred at CREA functions as well as officially, at Interior. Vitter wrote letters to Interior, got 26 other house members to sign. Reed promoted Vitter in postcard campaign, who later won LA Senate race. Senators John Breaux, Trent Lott, Cochran send letters to Interior.
*January 29, 2002, In an e-mail Abramoff tells Scanlon "I have to meet with the monkeys from the Choctaw tribal council." [http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041004/NEWS01/410040343/1002]
*February 2002 - Abramoff knows through Reed that the Tigua casino is about to get shut down by Senator John Cornyn. Abramoff and Scanlon make a move to take on Tigua as clients. Abramoff gets the Tigua to pay for Ney's Scotland golf trip (w/Safavian, Reed, Abramoff).
*March 6, 2002 - After all the letters have been written, Coushatta cut the checks to 61 members of Congress. Also, one check on the list makes the CREA->Norton link implicit: "Council for Republican Advocacy (Norton)."
*March 7, 2002 - DoI rejects Jena compact. After rejection, Jena hired their own lobbyists (Patton-Boggs) and tried again, this time with tacit support of Billy Tauzin and Breaux.
*March 2002 - LA Rep. McCrery's chief of staff, Bob Brooks (who later went on a Scotland golf trip with Abramoff) writes up legislation to block Jena.
* Apr 17, 2002: a press release "JUDICIAL WATCH TO INVESTIGATE INFLUENCE PEDDLING AT BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND INTERIOR DEPARTMENT: Quid Pro Quo Of Campaign Contributions From Indian Gambling Revenues In Exchange For Meetings And Political Favors? Time Magazine Implicates Number 2 Official At BIA In Influence Peddling Scheme" at http://www.judicialwatch.org/1734.shtml - Note that it cites an April 11, 2002 article from Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine of April 22, 2002.
*June 2002 - Strongly worded, Abramoff-written letter to Norton opposing Jena is signed and sent by Delay, Hastert, and Blunt. Griles tries hard to influence Norton within Interior. He is challenged by Michael Rosetti, Counsel at Interior, 'who did not want Norton's decision process on the Jenas influenced by "outside people".' Vitter tries to urge Interior to block Jena via language in Appropriations report.
*June 2002 - Team Abramoff lobbyists worked on behalf of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe in Michigan to secure a $3 million federal grant for school construction.
*October 9, 2002 - Abramoff emails Ken Mehlman to seek an endorsement from President George W. Bush for Republican candidates running in Guam. Two weeks later, Susan Ralston e-mailed Abramoff: "Ken asked me to let you know that he has the quote to be approved for your Guam candidates."
*December 2002 - Norton eventually allows Jena compact, but the tribe ultimately gets shot down by LA Gov. Kathleen Babineaux - Blanco, who does not want any expansion of gambling.


*"January 13, 2003": Julie Doolittle is paid $10,000 as a retainer for the months of January and February.

*"March, 2003": the Spy Game Gala fundraiser is cancelled. Payments to Julie Doolittle cease.

*"May 27, 2003": Abramoff's lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig lands the Sac & Fox tribe of Iowa as a client, with Kevin Ring as the most senior lobbyist on the account.

*"Early June, 2003": Kevin Ring brings members of the Iowan Sac & Fox tribe to meet with John Doolittle in his office. (Sac Bee, 2/12/06)

*"June 12, 2003": John Doolittle sends a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton on behalf of the Sac & Fox.

*"June 17, 2003": Doolittle's political committee, Superior California, spends $126 on a "meeting" at Abramoff's restaurant Signatures.

*"July 2, 2003": Abramoff starts paying Julie Doolittle's $5,000 monthly retainer again through Greenberg Traurig.

*July 3, 2003: Doolittle's PAC, Superior California collects a $5,000 check from the Saginaw Chippewa of Michigan, an Abramoff client.

*Oct, 2003 - Doolittle writes a letter to Secretary Norton asking for to help for a Massachusetts tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag, that was seeking federal recognition. The tribe was an Abramoff client. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2006/01/29/national/w092309S59.DTL&type=printable Papers Link GOP Lawmaker, Abramoff Clients ] ]

* November 2, 2003: Julia Robb at the "Alexandria Daily Town Talk" reported that people within the Saginaw Chippewa and LA Coushatta tribes were criticizing tribal leaders (like Chief Poncho) for spending multi-millions on lobbyists, so that was likely when the house of cards started falling (Chief Poncho had recently been voted out of the tribal council). More notes to follow.
* November 2003: According to the first SIAC hearing transcripts, the Saginaw Chippewa first confronted Abramoff and asked if he had a side 'agreement' with Scanlon http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_senate_hearings&docid=f:96229.wais]


*February 19, 2004 - Julie Doolittle gets her her monthly $5,000 retainer payment from Greenberg Traurig. It will turn out to be her last.
*February 22, 2004: Schmidt, Susan “ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A60906-2004Feb21 A Jackpot From Indian Gaming Tribes - Lobbying, PR Firms Paid $45 Million Over 3 Years] ”, "The Washington Post". [http://www.disinfopedia.org/index.php?title=Jack_Abramoff:_External_Links_2004 DisInfopedia] .
* March 2004: The FBI also started an investigation [ [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/01/03/lobbyist_expected_to_plead_guilty/ Abramoff pleads guilty to fraud - Boston.com ] ] allegedly based on the fact that Scanlon's ex-fiancee tipped them off to his illicit activities as payback for Scanlon cheating on her [ [http://rawstory.com/news/2005/How_Jack_Abramoff_and_Michael_Scanlon_0103.html The Raw Story | How they got caught: After lobbyist broke off engagement, ex-fiancee told of illicit dealings to FBI ] ] . Once Scanlon 'flipped', Abramoff 'flipped' and gave up all of his personal records. However, there's more work to be done to ' [http://www.wordspy.com/words/walkthecatback.asp walk the cat back] '.
* March 2004: the Senate hearing also indicates that SIAC initiated their investigation based on press accounts at this time
* June 22, 2004: The first subpoenas in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee investigation were issued I believe the SIAC got involved based on the complaints from the tribes.
* December 7, 2004: J. Steven Griles resigns from his position as Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Interior.


*March 2, 2005: [http://washingtontimes.com/national/20050301-113409-8342r.htm Inside Politics: DeLay Defense] , "Washington Times": It says "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, has called for the House ethics panel to investigate Mr. DeLay after the National Journal cited his trip and said the Texas Republican violated House ethics rules. "The House gift rule clearly states that lobbyists cannot pay a member's travel expenses, but the expense voucher submitted by lobbyist Jack Abramoff indicates that this is precisely what he did for Mr. DeLay," she said."
* August 11, 2005 - SunCruz - Abramoff and Kidan are indicted on fraud
* September 26 2005 - SunCruz - Moscatiello and two others arrested for the murder of Boulis
* December 15, 2005 - SunCruz - Kidan pleads guilty to fraud, agrees to testify against Abramoff


* January 3, 2006: Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to three criminal felony counts in federal court related to the defrauding of Native American tribes and corruption of public officials.
* January 4, 2006 - SunCruz - Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and of a separate charge of wire fraud, relating to the purchase of SunCruz Casinos.
* March 29, 2006: Jack Abramoff was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison -- the minimum allowed per the plea bargain -- and ordered then to pay restitution of more than $21 million.
*March 31, 2006: Team Abramoff lobbyist and DeLay staffer Tony Rudy pleads guilty to conspiracy related to bribery involving Ney and DeLay.
*April 4, 2006: Tom DeLay announces his resignation from Congress.
* May 1, 2006 - SunCruz - Adam Kidan tells authorities John Gurino killed Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis. The John Gotti mob-connected Gurino was said to have been shot to death by a business partner. Gurino wasn't part of the investigation before Kidan gave authorities the name. [cite news
title=Abramoff Partner May Know Who Killer Is
publisher=Houston Chronicle
date=June 9, 2006
*May 8, 2006, Ney's former Chief of Staff, Neil Volz pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, including wire fraud and violating House rules. [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=aQZNqOLUuMSE]
* September 29, 2006: House Committee on Governmental Reform releases a report detailing contacts between the White House and Jack Abramoff and his lobbyists, as well as exchanges with Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. [ [http://reform.house.gov/UploadedFiles/1%20FINAL%20FINAL%20(12).pdf House Committee on Governmental Reform Report] ]
* October 6, 2006: Karl Rove special assistant Susan Ralston, named in the report as having requested and received events tickets from Abramoff on several occasions, resigns from the White House.


* March 23, 2007: J. Steven Griles pleads guilty to obstruction of justice in the Senate investigation of the Abramoff scandal, the top Bush administration official to do so. [cite news | title=Former Interior Deputy Pleads Guilty in Abramoff Case | author=Susan Schmidt | coauthors=James V. Grimaldi | publisher=Washington Post | date=March 23, 2007 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/23/AR2007032300581.html]
* April 6, 2007: Abramoff prosecutor Robert E. Couglin resigns from Department of Justice. [ [http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/17145877.htm McClatchy Washington Bureau | Homepage ] ]
* April 9, 2007: It is reported that Abramoff is talking in hopes of a shorter prison sentence for his Sun Cruz crimes. [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18029493/ NBC: Abramoff may get reduced sentence - Politics - MSNBC.com ] ]
* April 13, 2007: Kevin A. Ring resigns from Barnes & Thornburg; [ [http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/003024.php TPMmuckraker | Talking Points Memo | Former Doolittle Aide Resigns from Lobby Firm ] ] the FBI raids the home of John Doolittle, seizing documents of his wife's company, Sierra Dominion Financial Services. [ [http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/fbi-raids-doolittle-home-2007-04-18.html TheHill.com - FBI raids Doolittle home ] ]
* April 20, 2007: Doolittle steps down from seat on Appropriations Committee [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/19/AR2007041902558.html Congressman Quits Panel After Raid - washingtonpost.com ] ] and starts a defense fund. [ [http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/4/23/22713/3305 Daily Kos: Doolittle is a lying hypocrite and you can help take him down ] ]
* April 23, 2007: Documents are filed by the Justice Department against Mark Zachares, former Don Young staffer and Marianas official. [ [http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/former-aide-to-young-likely-to-plead-guilty-2007-04-23.html TheHill.com - Former aide to Young likely to plead guilty ] ]
* April 24, 2007: Zachares pleas guilty and announces cooperation with prosecutors, [ [http://www.guampdn.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070426/NEWS01/704260301/1002 Pacific Daily News - www.guampdn.com - Hagatna, GU ] ] tying Rep. Tom Feeney (FL-24) to the Abramoff scandal. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-04-24-house-aide-abramoff_N.htm Ex-Hill aide pleads guilty in Abramoff scandal - USATODAY.com ] ]
* June 8, 2007: Italia Federici, president of CREA, pleads guilty to tax evasion and obstructing the United States Senate investigation into the Abramoff scandal. [cite news
title=Fundraiser Pleads Guilty in Lobby Probe
author=Mark Heilprin
publisher=Associated Press
date=June 8, 2007
* July 7, 2007 Jared Carpenter, vice-president of CREA, pleads guilty to tax evasion. [cite news
title=Abramoff investigation leads to another guilty plea
publisher=The Hill
author=Mike Soraghan
date=July 14, 2007


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