Monday, Dec. 25, 2006

Jack Abramoff

Jack Went to Jail, but Whom Did He Finger?
By the time lobbyist Jack Abramoff said goodbye to his wife and five children last month and went to serve his 70-month prison term, the central figure in the biggest Washington corruption scandal in a generation had taken plenty of people down with him. Seven others so far, including G.O.P. Congressman Bob Ney and White House procurement chief David Safavian, pleaded guilty or were convicted of crimes tied to Abramoff. But the Beltway roundup, which many believe contributed to the G.O.P. loss of Congress in the midterm elections, may not be over. Until his incarceration on bank-fraud charges involving his attempt to buy a Florida cruise line, Abramoff, 48, was spending more than eight hours a day helping federal prosecutors and FBI agents comb through 500,000 e-mails and other materials documenting his dealings with current and former members of Congress and the Executive Branch. He is hoping his cooperation, which will continue from prison, will bring reduced penalties for his separate guilty pleas to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe a public official. But it could also cause some of his old friends to end up in jail.