Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Abramoff Trail--and Bob Riley's Chair--Might Be Heating Up

It's been awhile since we've heard about disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In fact, now that Abramoff and his partner Michael Scanlon have signed guilty pleas, one might think the case has grown cold.

But a citizen reporter at Daily Kos says the Abramoff case is anything but cold, and that is why Republicans and Karl Rove plan an all-out fight against the confirmation of Eric Holder as Barack Obama's attorney general.

If the Abramoff trail indeed heats up in the next few months, look for the trail eventually to lead to Alabama and the doorstep of Governor Bob Riley. After all, it's well established that Riley received $13 million of Mississippi Choctaw gambling money, laundered through Abramoff, for his 2002 campaign against Don Siegelman. And it's well established that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) withheld from a Senate report an e-mail that proved Riley's connections to Abramoff.

The Daily Kos reporter, who goes by the name "dengre," works for a Washington, D.C. nonprofit called Green America and has been following the Abramoff case since 1999. His work is exhaustively researched, and here is some background about his interest in the Abramoff case.

It appears that "dengre" is one of the most knowledgeable laypeople out there on the Abramoff matter. And he says the case is going to become a massive headache for Republicans in 2009.

The key player now, Daily Kos reports, is former Abramoff "right-hand man" Kevin Ring. Government investigators and Ring's attorneys are currently in a legal dance over discovery, wrestling with evidence that has accumulated against Ring.

Kos reports that the government has more than 50,000 e-mails that Ring sent or received, along with thousands of hours of interviews related to Ring's activities. "It is a massive pile of evidence that must have many players in the GOP trembling with fear," "dengre" writes.

A few Democrats are likely to be caught in the sleaze, Kos reports, but the heaviest fallout figures to land on the GOP. The investigation now appears to be geared toward using Ring as a stepping stone to build cases against a number of Republican luminaries, including John Doolittle, Roy Blunt, Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, and more.

When Ring begins to fully cooperate with investigators--and it appears he will have little choice but to cooperate--some serious dominoes could start to fall.

The biggest domino in our neck of the woods could be the governor of Alabama--and perhaps some of his close associates.

Kos reports that Eric Holder is the man to get to the bottom of the Abramoff cesspool. And that's why a fierce battle over his confirmation is expected.

Look for the seat under Bob Riley's fanny to start getting warm in the coming weeks and months.

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