The Wall Street Journal reported today that superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, who copped a guilty plea yesterday, “says he has information that could implicate 60 lawmakers.”
This is the best news that the moribund prison building industry has had in years. If 60 lawmakers go down in the Abramoff scandal, this could mean that the U.S. Congress may actually have a higher turnover rate this year than the usual turnover rate of the Soviet Politburo. (Congressmen have rigged elections to practically guarantee a 98% reelection rate for incumbents).
There is panic in Washington that the Justice Department may not recognize that elected representatives are statutorially above the law. A former Republican leadership aide told the New York Times: “There’s a lot of talk coming out of various quarters that the Justice Department is going to pursue a different definition of bribery, meaning that if somebody were to give a gift or a campaign contribution in the same time period as a member took an official action, that in and of itself would constitute bribery. That scares the bejesus out of people.”
Republican congressmen have long favored permitting federal prosecutors to stretch and contort criminal statutes in order to wreck the lives of private citizens who harmed no one. Now it may be their turn to squeal.