Washington is Nervous
With the guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with investigators, Jack Abramoff is making this two very edgy. The possibility that somewhere between a handfull and a boatload of congressmen may go down with him has a lot of people twitching. The real losers in all of this will likely be the staffers that were bribed. They don’t have the deep pockets to hire private lawyers to cover their ass.
The really interesting guy to watch is going to be Harry Reid. He set himself up a few weeks ago with a rather loud protest that “this is a Republican scandal” and swore that he was not involved.
Don’t lump me in with Jack Abramoff… Abramoff gave me no money. His firm gave me no money. He may have worked (at) a firm where people have given me money… I feel totally at ease that I haven’t done anything that is even close to being wrong.”
He may want to back away from that statement now, though. There is talk that he is part of the investigation for some large sums of money deposited to his campaign account by Abramoff clients.
As I was just telling a friend, the problem for members of Congress (especially in an election year) is not whether they did or did not do something wrong. The problem they have is public perception. Anyone trying to run for re-election in November if they start announcing investigations and indictments in February or March is going to have a hard time, whether they are guilty or not.
Plenty of political careers have been ruined by rumor and innuendo in an election year.
On the other side of the equation, though, plenty of political careers have flourished despite driving your girlfriend off a bridge into icy waters and watching her die of drowning and hypothermia… Oh, wait… Maybe that was just one political career…