A Thousand Points Of Light, Compassionate Conservatism AND Faith-Based Charity, All Rolled Into OneWhy the Republicans will do anything to win in November, Exhibit "A":
The Capital Athletic Foundation's Web site portrays youths at play: shaking hands over a tennis net, learning how to hold a bat, straining for a jump ball. Its text solicits donations for what it describes as "needy and deserving" sportsmanship programs.
In its first four years of operation, the charity has collected nearly $6 million. A gala fundraiser last year at the International Spy Museum at one point attracted the Washington Redskins' owner as its chairman and was to honor the co-founder of America Online.
Records for GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff's Capital Athletic Foundation show that less than 1 percent of its revenue has been spent on sports-related programs for youths, and federal investigators are looking into how large amounts of money were funneled through the nonprofit group to support Abramoff's interests.
But tax and spending records of the Capital Athletic Foundation obtained by The Washington Post show that less than 1 percent of its revenue has been spent on sports-related programs for youths.
Instead, the documents show that Jack Abramoff, one of Washington's high-powered Republican lobbyists, has repeatedly channeled money from corporate clients into the foundation and spent the overwhelming portion of its money on pet projects having little to do with the advertised sportsmanship programs, including political causes, a short-lived religious school and an overseas golf trip.
The foundation's brief history -- now the subject of a federal investigation -- charts how Abramoff attached himself to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and, in so doing, became a magnet for large sums of money from business interests. It also demonstrates how easily large amounts of such cash flowed through a nonprofit advocacy group to support the interests of a director.
Internal records state, for example, that Abramoff and his wife, Pam -- who are listed as the foundation's sole directors -- spent more than 70 percent of its revenue from 2001 to 2003, or $4.03 million, on a Jewish school that Abramoff founded in Columbia. The Eshkol Academy operated for two years and schooled two of his sons before closing this spring with unpaid bills, faculty members said.
The co-chair of the gala fundraiser? Tony Snow.
Just remember the new rules: It's okay if you're a Pioneer.