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Jack Is Back: Convicted Former Republican Lobbyist Abramoff Publishes Memoir

Jack Abramoff, the storied rip-off artist cum lobbyist who bilked Native Americans out of more than $82 million back in the early 2000s, is out of jail and in print with a new memoir with his version of the debacle.

Jack Abramoff, the former Republican lobbyist and convicted felon who bilked American Indian nations of more than $82 million, may very well be earning another tidy sum from a book he has written about how he accomplished his fraud.

Washington Post journalist Al Kamen broke the news about Abramoff’s forthcoming volume, Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist, in his column on September 27. The book comes out on November 14.

“Well, why not?” asked Kamen, who calls Abramoff a “former pizza parlor worker” because he worked in a pizza parlor after being released from prison in June 2010. “After all, it seems we’ve heard Abramoff’s story from everyone but the ex-lobbyist himself.”

Besides innumerable news articles and segments about Abramoff, he is the subject of Peter Stone’s volume Heist (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006). In 2010 he appeared in the documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money and was depicted in the feature film Casino Jack, starring Kevin Spacey.

Abramoff pled guilty in 2006 to charges of tax evasion, mail fraud and conspiracy in connection with a deal with one of his former business partners, Adam Kidan. In their purchase of a casino fleet from a Miami businessman—who later turned up dead in a gangland-type slaying—the two partners used a phony $23 million wire transfer. Not long before this, Michael Scanlon, another former Abramoff partner, had admitted to conspiring with Abramoff to defraud Indian tribes as well as corrupt public officials.

Abramoff and Scanlon stole more than $82 million from six tribes between 2001 and 2003, according to the investigative report “Gimme Five,” issued by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The report found that Abramoff persuaded his tribal clients to hire Scanlon at exorbitant fees for “grassroots support” or access to high public officials, and that Scanlon then kicked back half of the money to Abramoff.

For example, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana gave Scanlon more than $30 million for access to Washington decision-makers. Scanlon redirected $11.5 million to Abramoff. Coushatta attorney Jimmy Faircloth said after the convictions, “The tribe believed Abramoff had the secret handshake to Washington, and they followed him down that path.”

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Abramoff began serving his sentence for the Florida casino deal on November 15, 2006. In 2008 he received a concurrent four-year term for conspiring to defraud the government, corrupting public officials and defrauding his clients. He was released early for cooperating with the Justice Department.

Lobbyist Tom Rodgers, Blackfeet, owner of Carlyle Consulting and the primary whistleblower who exposed Abramoff, said that his book will be closely monitored: “There will be a fact-checking and soul-checking response to his work of fiction.”

Rodgers also said a more appropriate “punishment” would have been for Abramoff to do community service in Indian country. “There is a growing movement in this country that perhaps a better healing process and a better cause of justice is to follow restorative justice, which hopefully restores the soul and one’s appreciation for one’s own failures and flaws,” Rodgers said.

“In Jack’s case,” he added, “he should have been made to help Indian people who he took advantage of and, hopefully, that would have helped him understand our culture and history and would have made him appreciate his own failures. They could have healed together.”

According to Kamen, Washington is gossiping that several major publishing houses had rejected Abramoff’s memoir. He finally found a home with WND Books, which bills itself “A Free Press for a Free People Since 1997.” WND’s offerings include The Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad by Hal Lindsey; WND calls Lindsey “the father of the modern-day prophecy movement.”

Other WND titles are Muslim Mafia by Paul Sperry and P. Dave Gaubatz, a former U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent who has claimed that while he was in Iraq he found the bunkers that contained Saddam Hussein’s long-lost weapons of mass destruction;and The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast by Joel Richardson, who according to the progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America believes Islam will be “used by Satan to fulfill the prophecies of the Bible.”

Abramoff's outrageous take on reality is not relegated to Washington, though; he also pillories Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder over the team’s nickname.

WND did not respond to questions about Abramoff’s advance or whether he used the services of a ghostwriter.