Saturday, December 24, 2005

FBI Probing Pombo-Abramoff Connection

I’m running off to the airport right now, but before I left I wanted to direct your attention to a very promising development.  It looks like the FBI has opened a probe into Richard Pombo’s efforts on behalf of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, who are former clients of uber-corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff.  The L.A. Times has the story (hat tip: JaninSanFran):  

The Mashpee Wampanoags, famed for greeting the Pilgrims at Plymouth, will be named a nationally recognized tribe — a designation they sought for 30 years so that they could benefit from federal aid programs.

Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist embroiled in a Washington corruption scandal, and his firm championed the Indians' cause and pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in tribal money.

And Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy), chairman of the influential House Resources Committee, landed a lucrative source of political donations: the small group of Native Americans whose ancestral lands are about as far from his Northern California district as one can get in the United States.

The trifecta of money, politics and power that quietly came together over the last several years has attracted the attention of a federal law enforcement task force investigating the burgeoning Abramoff scandal.

FBI officials have visited the tribal offices here to obtain financial documents, and other task force investigators in Washington are reviewing what role political leaders and others played in the Mashpee's success.

Where the investigation will lead is unknown. But several people close to Abramoff have pleaded guilty in other aspects of the wide-ranging scandal. And in recent days, several Capitol Hill lawmakers, including Pombo, have returned donations from Abramoff or turned the money over to charity.

Officials do know that the flow of cash from the Mashpee to Abramoff and Pombo is a textbook example of the kind of cases of alleged influence-buying that the task force is assembling.

But what investigators want to determine is whether the Mashpee episode crossed the line into criminal behavior, as other Abramoff ventures allegedly did.

Read the rest of the article.

[Ed note: Those of us at Say No to Pombo are busy fighting the War on Christmas.  I think I’ve already lost the Battle of the Bulge this year, but I’m still hoping that I’ll be more able to fend off a post-New Year hangover.  In any event, the posting volume is going to be low through the end of the year.  And the posts that I put up are probably going to be much less analytical than typical.  ]


Blogger Matt said...

Jerry McNerney sends out a press release about this. Read it here.

6:59 PM, December 24, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ironically, Pombo was instrumental in getting the sheriff (baxter dunn) and San Joaquin County supervisor Lynn Bedford indicted by the feds for alleged political misdeeds. Those two politicians were associated with the local democratic powerbase. No one has really explained what those did wrong except piss off developers and pombo. Now, when there is real bad conduct we will see what the feds do to pombo.

4:27 PM, February 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spanos was instrumental in the politically motivated investigation and prosecution of Dunn and Bedford. Spanos also had great influence on the judge in that case, Morrison England. Spanos got him appointed by Bush.

5:59 PM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous
Your assertions that Pombo was instrumental in getting Baxter Dunn indicted and that Spanos has something to do with them are false. As are your asinine and unsupported allegations that Judge England was a puppet of Spanos. Any actions of the judge are open to legal review by the 9th circuit, all the way up to the Supreme Court. I've never met, or spoken to Pombo or Spanos and they don't control me. (or the FBI for that matter.) No one has explained what those guys did wrong? Are you kidding me? What planet do you live on? Do you really think the defendants were so important that a big government conspiracy was put together to frame them, for developer's no less? They are "big fish in a small pond" who thought they were above the law! Simply put,this was a "follow the trail" type of investigation for mulitiple types of public corruption activities spanning several years. The amazing thing was how business people put up with their extortion activities in the first place and simply characterized it as "oh well, I guess it's how business is done in San Joaquin County." I see, hmm? it's okay to extort developers for money, and if they complain, then they're the bad guys somehow??? What if it was your family that was being extorted by these guys?
What about the four sets of Federal Grand Juries who listened to this as it grew over a four year period? Were they puppets of Spanos too? You also ignore the intelligence of a trial jury, who listened to testimony, viewed evidence and came to a decision on Monte McFall. Lynn Bedford is a convicted felon, who chose to lie to protect his co-conspirators. Baxter Dunn admitted he misused his office, enough said, let him rest in peace. So did Allen Sawyer. J. Tyler Reves, who cares. As far as Pombo, or any other public official, if they are found to have commmitted a crime, then they need to be brought to justice. I don't care whether you're a democrat, a republican or a prefer not to say. I'll investigate you anyway. Sincerely, Ken Melgoza.

10:47 AM, August 28, 2006  

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