Dengre reminds us that the Abramoff investigation is ongoing, and that the outcome of this investigation could bring down a lot of influential Republicans:
To date, sixteen people–including Abramoff–have plead guilty in the scandal and as terms of their pleas they have been cooperating with the DOJ. Another two have been indicted. One is awaiting trial while the other was recently found guilty again in a retrial. Others, including Abramoff, have been indicted for crimes committed on the US Territory of Guam. A trial there is schedule to begin in January 2009. And then there are some indictments on the Marianas Islands that may also prove to be related to corruption in Washington when they come to trial. And that is just what is known on the surface. There are quite a few people identified in these cases who have yet to be indicted, but their day is coming.
The Abramoff scandal is a very active investigation and it is flying far below the radar. One gets the sense that the professionals in the Department of Justice who have been investigating this scandal are waiting out the Bush Administration to minimize political interference and any possible pardons Bush might hand out to his co-conspirators as he leaves office. The US Attorney in Maryland had to be tasked with investigating the DOJ in Washington DC because Abramoff and his team had infiltrated the Justice Department. There is evidence in the Abramoff billing records, documents released from Court cases and from Congressional investigations that former Attorney General John Ashcroft may have exposure is the scandal. Two of his former staffers are involved. One has pleaded guilty and the other has been indicted, his trial should begin later this year.
It probably won’t affect too many elected Republican officials, but the Republican power structure could be eviscerated. A chunk of their corporate lobbying structure–which is intertwined with the GOP’s fundraising capacity–could wind up in jail. The rest will be running scared–there are better ways to make money.
Of course, once this happens, the Villagers will have to rally around their own. I’m guessing we’ll hear the defense that Democrats and Republicans have gone from government to lobbying. It will never occur to the morally bankrupt punditocracy that, since this kind of corruption is so widespread, it’s time someone set the precedent of going to jail for this behavior.