Four More Years for Jack.
Jack Abramoff, the one-time flamboyant lobbyist who amassed a fortune by showering officials, especially members of Congress and their aides, with gifts, was sentenced on Thursday to four years in prison.
Mr. Abramoff has already served about two years of a six-year prison term after pleading guilty to unrelated fraud charges in Florida. The sentence imposed on Thursday, which the judge said would be served at the same time as the Florida term, followed Mr. Abramoff's guilty plea in Washington to charges of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. He will have to serve nearly six years in jail on both sets charges.
Federal Judge Ellen S. Huvelle ordered that Mr. Abramoff serve the time on a variety of fraud and corruption charges that grew out of an influence-peddling investigation that touched Republican congressional leaders and mid-level officials in the Bush administration.
Mr. Abramoff, who had come to symbolize an out-of-control, even brazen style of courting government officials, told Judge Huvelle he had come to realize how far he had overstepped the bounds of what was permissible. He apologized profusely and said in a quavering voice that he had "fallen into an abyss. My name is the butt of a joke."
Prosecutors had asked Judge Huvelle to reduce Mr. Abramoff's sentence from the approximately 11 years recommended in federal sentencing guidelines. The judge's decision to do so reflected Mr. Abramoff's cooperation with investigators. Even so, the judge sentenced Mr. Abramoff to nine months longer than the 39 months the government had sought. She said that Mr. Abramoff had engaged in a "consistent course of corrupt conduct" but recognized his substantial cooperation with law enforcement authorities.
Beginning with the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, Mr. Abramoff sat at the center of a lobbying conglomerate that bilked Indian tribes of tens of millions of dollars and then used much of that bundle to win favor with members of Congress. He provided members and their aides with gifts, the most infamous of which was a lavish golf outing to Scotland.
That photo above, and the news that Smiling Jack Abramoff is getting the four more years so many corrupt Republicans deserve, gives me an excuse to roll out one of my favorite political videos ever:
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