Jack Abramoff was a longtime conservative operative who, during the George W. Bush presidency, became one of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington. But Abramoff was disgraced and imprisoned following a scandal in which he defrauded American Indian tribes by overbilling them, while also bribing public officials.
The Abramoff scandal resulted in the lobbyist pleading guilty to federal charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and tax evasion, and the surrounding scandal led to convictions of more than 20 people, including former Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio.
Abramoff spent six years in prison, and upon his release took the public position that politics were horribly broken, with his own misdeeds as proof of it.
But in the Trump era, Abramoff has made something of a comeback. It was reported in the summer of 2017, by Reuters, that Abramoff had returned to lobbying, and that Abramoff had sought to arrange a meeting between President Trump and Denis Sassou Nguesso, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
And now, Abramoff has signed on to a conservative Super PAC with an introductory letter in which he assails the “deep state,” implying, bizarrely, that it was responsible for his imprisonment.
Abramoff, per EE News, has joined Protect American Values as “honorary chairman.” In the letter, published by the site, Abramoff argues against the Green New Deal legislation recently introduced by Democrats.
“Like President Trump, I’ve even been abused by them and lived to share my stories of how the Deep State tried to take me down…forever,” Abramoff wrote. “They only won once, and now I’m ready to return the favor.”
“The Deep State” was not a term that was in general use during the time that Abramoff was convicted and jailed, and his conviction took place during the administration of the Republican President George W. Bush.
George Soros is mentioned as well, and the letter also includes a TIME magazine cover from around the time of his scandal in which Abramoff is described as “the man who bought Washington.” Abramoff also writes that the entire letter is part of a sophisticated strategy to help President Trump.
“After they read this letter, the Fake news media and their friends on the Left (especially the Congressional Democrats) will start attacking me personally – but I’m ready for them,” Abramoff writes. “In fact, I am encouraging them to spend time targeting ME, Jack Abramoff, instead of our conservative candidates, who need to focus on retaking the House and keeping the Senate. I’d rather they stay laser focused on me, than spend time trying to undermine our chance for a conservative victory next November.”
— Corbin Hiar (@CorbinHiar) February 19, 2019
The letter hasn’t gotten much reaction as planned, although Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii wrote on Twitter that “if you are undecided on the Green New Deal one data point is that Jack Abramoff has started a super PAC against it.”
Abramoff was the subject of two different 2010 movies, both called Casino Jack. One was a documentary directed by Alex Gibney, and the other a feature film in which another disgraced individual, Kevin Spacey, portrayed him. Abramoff had himself dabbled in movie production in the 1980s, producing the Dolph Lundgren movie Red Scorpion.