Jack Abramoff

  • Aired:  12/08/11
  •  | Views: 28,774

Jack Abramoff describes the controversial activities he engaged in as a Washington lobbyist and discusses the corrupting influence of campaign contributions. (6:23)

IS.

>> WELCOME BACKS, EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A FORMER

LOBBYIST WHO SERVED THREE

AND A HALF YEARS IN FEDERAL

PRISON.

I HOPE HE KNOWS THIS VISIT

IS NOT CON JU GAL.

PLEASE WELCOME JACK ABRAMOFF.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY

MUCH.

MR. ABRAMOFF, NICE TO

FINALLY MEET YOU.

>> THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: BOY OH BOY, OKAY,

SO REMIND EVERYBODY WHO JACK

ABRAMOFF IS, ALL RIGHT.

OR WAS BECAUSE YOU ARE A

CHANGED MAN, CORRECT.

>> THAT'S RIGHT, YES MI.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE A FORMER

LOBBYIST AND BUSINESSMAN.

YOU BECAME A POSTER BOY FOR

WASHINGTON, D.C. CORRUPTION.

YOU SERVED THREE AND A HALF

YEARS FOR FRAUD AND

CONSPIRACY AND YOUR NEW BOOK

IS CALLED CAPITAL PUNISHMENT,

THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT

WASHINGTON CORRUPTION FOR

AMERICA'S MOST NOTORIOUS

LOBBYIST.

WHAT WAS IT YOU WERE DOING

THAT MADE YOU SO NOTORIOUS?

>> WELL, I WAS A LOBBYIST

FOR OPENERS.

AND I WAS-- .

>> Stephen: THAT IS A LEGAL

ENTERPRISE IT IS LEGAL --

>> IT IS LEGAL.

>> Stephen: IT IS LEGAL TO

BE A LOBBYIST.

>> MOST OF THE NOT RYE ET

AND THINGS THAT-- NOT RIGHT

ARE LEGAL, MOST OF WHAT I

DID WAS LEGAL.

I CROSSED A FEW LINES AND

DID THINGS THAT ARE ILLEGAL,

AND WAS PUNISHED FOR IT.

>> Stephen: LIKE FOR

INSTANCE, ONE THING DID YOU

WAS YOU LOBBIED FOR INDIAN

CASINOS.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: BUT THEN

MISAPPROPRIATED THAT MONEY

FOR OTHER PURPOSE.

THAT IS ONE OF THE THINGS

THAT GOT YOU IN --

>> NOT QUITE, BUT CLOSE.

>> Stephen: DID YOU STEAL

FROM INDIANS.

>> NO.

>> Stephen: DID YOU NOT

STEAL FROM INDIANS.

>> NO.

>> Stephen: BECAUSE THAT IS

ONE OF THE FOUNDING

PRINCIPLESES OF OUR NATION.

(APPLAUSE)

>> I GUESS THAT'S NOT A

CRIME.

THAT'S MORE OF A HISTORICAL

REENACTMENT.

I AM A HUGE FAN OF SOME OF

YOUR EARLY WORK.

BECAUSE I AGREE WITH THE

SUPREME COURT THAT MONEY

EQUALS SPEECH AND WEREN'T

YOU BY SPREADING GIFTS

AROUND CONGRESS, YOU TOOK

PEOPLE ON GOLF TRIPS.

WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU DO TO

GET IN FAVOR WITH A

CONGRESSMAN OR THE

CONGRESS'S OFFICE.

>> MULES, TAKING THEM OUT

TRAVELING.

TAKE THEM TO SPORTING

EVENTS.

I BOUGHT ABOUT A MILLION AND

A HALF DOLLARS A YEAR WORTH

OF SPORTING TICKETS WHICH MY

STAFF AND I GAVE OUT TO

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND

STAFF.

>> Stephen: DO YOU THINK IT

WAS BAD WHAT YOU MR. DOING.

>> ABSOLUTELY, YEAH.

>> Stephen: WHAT WAS BAD

ABOUT IT?

>> WHAT IS BAD IS THAT

BASICALLY WE WERE LOBBYING

AND WHAT WE WERE DOING-- .

>> Stephen: BUT LOBBYING,

LOBBYISTS INFORM MEMBERS OF

CONGRESS ABOUT THE

INDUSTRIES.

>> CORRECT.

>> Stephen: , THE

LEGISLATION THAT CONGRESS IS

PASSING WILL AFFECT.

WHO BETTER TO WRITE OUR

LEGISLATION.

>> THAN LOBBYISTS.

>> Stephen: RIGHT.

>> INDEED.

>> Stephen: THEY KNOW WHAT

THEY ARE TALK BEING.

WE KNOW CONGRESS, THE

GOVERNMENT CAN'T DO

ANYTHING.

>> RIGHT, THEY CAN BARELY

READ THE LEGISLATION WHICH

IS ACTUALLY VERY CONVENIENT

FOR LOBBYISTS.

>> Stephen: THEY DON'T.

>> THEY DON'T HAVE TIME.

>> Stephen: SO WHAT'S REALLY

WRONG WITH IT?

>> WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT IS

WHEN MONEY GETS INVOLVED.

WHEN A LOBBYING IS GIVING

MONEY.

LOBBYING IS FINE,

PETITIONING THE GOVERNMENT.

BUT WHEN A LOBBYIST GIVES

MONEY OR GIVES CONTRIBUTIONS

OR MEALS OR TICKETS OR

PROSTITUTES OR WHATEVER

LOBBYISTS DO, IT'S A

PROBLEM.

AND ONE GOES-- I DIDN'T GET

PROSTITUTES.

>> Stephen: I'M JUST SAYING,

THEY CAME OFF YOUR LIPS

AWFULLY QUICK, OKAY.

I TELL YOU WHAT, WE SELL

SOME BOOKS RIGHT NOW IF YOU

SAY THAT'S IN THERE.

OKAY.

BUT MONEY IS NOW OFFICIALLY

SPEECH.

WHILE YOU WERE IN JAIL THE

SUPREME COURT RULED THAT

MONEY JUST IS A-- IT'S BEEN

ENSCHRYNED AS A

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT SO I

MEAN, DON'T YOU FEEL LIKE

YOU'RE RIDING THE WRONG

HORSE NOW?

>> WELL, I GUESS LOBBYISTS

DON'T HAVE A SPEECH

IMPEDIMENT IF MONEY IS

SPEECH.

>> Stephen: THEY DON'T, THEY

DO IT VERY ELOQUENTLY.

THEY HAVE A MEGAPHONE MADE

OF CASH.

>> RIGHT, RIGHT, THAT'S THE

PROBLEM.

THAT'S THE PROBLEM FOR

AMERICA AND HOPEFULLY PEOPLE

WILL WAKE UP.

ONE OF THE REASONS I WROTE

THE BOOK WAS TO SHOW PEOPLE

WHAT'S GOING ON IN

WASHINGTON.

IN FACT WHAT IS GOING ON

BEHIND THE CLOSED DOORS THAT

THEY CAN'T GET BEHIND,.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS THE MOST

CORRUPTING INFLUENCE AS YOU

SEE IT, AS CASH?

>> WELL, CAMPAIGN

CONTRIBUTIONS ARE IMMENSELY

CORRUPTING.

WHERE A LOBBYIST, FOR

EXAMPLE, IF YOU WERE A

CONGRESSMAN, AND NOT TO

INSULT YOU BUT YOU IF YOU

WERE A CONGRESSMAN AND I

WERE A LOBBYIST AND I WANTED

TO TAKE TO YOU DINNER AND

BUY YOU A HAMBURGER FOR $25.

>> Stephen: YES, THAT IS A

NICE HAMBURGER.

>> WELL, IT'S WASHINGTON.

SO I COULDN'T DO THAT.

YOU AND I COULDN'T HAVE THAT

MEAL.

THAT'S A GIFT TO YOU.

BUT IF I DECLARED IT AS A

FUND-RAISER AND PULLED OUT

OF MY COAT FIVE, $5,000

CHECKS AND GAVE YOU THOSE, I

COULD STILL GIVE THE

HAMBURGER AND WE COULD BE

JUST FINE.

THAT'S ONE OF THE PROBLEMS

IN WASHINGTON.

>> Stephen: LET ME WRITE

THIS DOWN, I CAN DO WHAT?

I CAN DO FIVE, $5,000 CHECKS

AND I GET A HAMBURGER FOR

THAT.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: THAT IS A REALLY

EXPENSIVE HAMBURGER.

NOW WHAT WOULD YOU EXPECT IN

RETURN FOR THAT?

LIKE LET'S SAY THAT

HAPPENED.

THE FIVE, $5,000 CHECK, THE

MAXIMUM GIFT YOU CAN GIVE

FROM FIVE DOIFERN DIFFERENT

PEOPLE, PLUS THE HAMBURGER,

WHAT WILL YOU GET BACK FROM

A CONGRESSMAN.

>> WHAT WILL YOU GET AND

WHAT LOBBYISTS TRY GET, IS

LOYALTY ON THE PART OF THE

CONGRESSMAN TO ANYTHING THE

LOBBYIST THAT IS GOING TO

ASK FOR THAT IS REASONABLE,

QUOTE, UNQUOTE,.

>> Stephen: WELL, COME ON,

BE SPECIFIC.

WHAT DID YOU GET.

GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF

SOMETHING, YOU WOULD SAY TO

YOURSELF I SHOULDN'T HAVE

BEEN ABLE TO GET THAT BUT I

GOT IT.

>> I GOT A MEMBER OF

CONGRESS TO INTRODUCE

LANGUAGE INTO A REFORM BILL,

OF ALL THINGS, TO ENABLE A

TRIBE IN TEXAS TO GET A

CASINO.

>> Stephen: I DON'T SEE ANY

PROBLEM WITH THAT.

IF-- YOU USED TO HAVE A

RESTAURANT, RIGHT.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: YOU EVER THINK

ABOUT REOPENING THAT

RESTAURANT?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I HEAR THAT WAS A REALLY

NICE RESTAURANT.

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, WHEN I

WAS IN PRISON I WORKED IN

THE KITCHEN FOR PART OF THE

TIME.

>> Stephen: REALLY.

>> SO I-- .

>> Stephen: THAT SOUNDS LIKE

A HIGH-CLASS PRISON.

WAS IT A WHITE COLLAR

PRISON.

>> THERE AREN'T ANY WHITE

COLLAR PRISONS ANY LONGER.

>> Stephen: OH, REALLY?

>> SOMEBODY SHOULD LOBBY TO

GET THOSE BACK.

OF COURSE THE LOBBYISTS ARE

GOING TO BE THE ONES THAT

END UP IN THERE.

MR. ABRAMOFF, THANK YOU SO

MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

SORRY YOU WENT TO THE OTHER

SIDE.

JACK ABRAMOFF, THE BOOK IS

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

-- WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

(CHEERS AND AP

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