Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Has McCain covered for Republicans who helped Abramoff?

Far from pursuing Jack Abramoff and those who helped him, John McCain may have tried to cover the tracks of Abramoff's key Republican allies in Congress. Case in point is Heather Wilson of New Mexico:
Wilson has been a stalwart supporter and prominent surrogate for John McCain, painting him as a crusader against Washington corruption. Just last night, she appeared on MSNBC's Hardball to make the case for him, and last week she told NPR: "John McCain has chosen a reformer ... to be his running mate and I think that's a perfect complement to who he is and what he's done in his life."

Wilson may have good reason to hold the GOP nominee in high regard. In his 2005 Senate investigation, McCain had access to the Greenberg Traurig email trove, presumably including the ones cited by prosecutors in the Ring indictment highlighted above. But his final report generally avoided focusing on members of Congress, and omitted any mention of Wilson.
McCain wouold have been able to see from this evidence that Heather Wilson and her office were involved in Abramoff's scheme to fleece indian tribes:
It's clear from identifying details in the indictment -- which refers to a New Mexico Indian tribe that hired Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig around March 2002 -- that the tribe is the Sandia Pueblo Indians, who are represented in Congress by Wilson. So in other words, a staffer for Wilson was actively involved in helping Ring and Greenberg Traurig (Firm B, where Ring worked at the time), retain their contract to represent the Sandia Indians. And Ring's Greenberg partner -- most likely Abramoff himself, but certainly a member of Abramoff's team at Greenberg -- believed he had the power to affect decisions made by Rep. Wilson concerning the tribe's interests.
Visit TPMmuckraker for complete coverage of this story as it breaks.

"Indictment: Heather Wilson's Office Tied to Abramoff"

Can John McCain make a credible claim to be a reformer if he helped to cover up the actions of Jack Abramoff's Republican allies in Congress?

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