The friends of Jack don't know Jack any more.
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff funneled money through a Mercer Island religious foundation as he tried to influence a top aide to Republican congressional leader Tom DeLay, according to his guilty plea last week to corruption charges.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin confirmed Sunday it was his foundation, Toward Tradition, that took $50,000 from two Abramoff clients and, at Abramoff's suggestion, used it to hire the aide's wife to organize a conference for the group.
Lapin said he and his board had no idea the money was part of Abramoff's vast scheme to influence Congress and, in this case, stop bills to raise postal rates and ban online lotteries.
"I know noth-ink, NO-THINK!" exclaimed Lapin. "How could I know that the man for whom I forged credentials would be involved in something dishonest?" Lapin added, "Buy my video from the TBN network, and get my tapes on how to 'Unlock Judaism's Unique Approach to Wealth Creation.'"
How friendly were Jack and Dan?
There are other ties between Lapin and Abramoff, who worked for the Seattle-based law and lobbying firm Preston Gates from 1994 to 2000. Abramoff served on the board of Toward Tradition, including a stint as chairman, and donated the $10,000 or so a year expected from board members, Lapin said.
One year Abramoff met that commitment by sending a check from the Capital Athletic Foundation, an organization he controlled that has become a key piece of the corruption investigation.
And Michael "the Oil Companies are Anti-Semitic" Medved also distances himself from his fellow Toward Tradition board member:
In an interview Sunday, Medved said he has met Abramoff only a few times, shared three meals with him, and added, "Jack's not a part of my life, thank God."We'll wait for Abramoff's version of that friendship, Mikey.
"I certainly do wish I had never met Jack and Jack had never met any friends of mine," Medved said.
And you might want to stop payment on that $10K check for this year's seat on the Toward Tradition board. That stock is plummeting, ethical capitalism-wise.
Meanwhile, Dana Rohrabacher is modifying his defense of Jackoff: "They're portraying Jack as a monster. I see him more as a good person who's done bad things and has to be punished for doing bad things." As opposed to a bad person who's done bad things, I guess.
And the New York Times notes that Jack's claim of contrition is a fraud on the court:
In public and in private, Mr. Abramoff has said he feels "profound regret and sorrow" for the acts acknowledged in his plea. He has also expressed remorse for using degrading terms to describe his Indian clients, saying his language was sloppy. But in conversations with people he considers sympathetic, he has insisted that his practices were Washington business as usual.
Let's not forget that at sentencing time.