Jack Abramoff is one of my generation’s most compelling, controversial, and influential political figures who went on to change the way business is done in our Nation’s Capitol forever. He is Washington’s most famous Lobbyist where he was at the heart of an extensive corruption investigation that led to his conviction and to 21 persons either pleading guilty or being found guilty, including White House officials J. Steven Griles and David Safavian, U.S. Representative Bob Ney, and nine other lobbyists and Congressional aides. Dubbed on the cover of Time Magazine as the “Man Who Bought Washington”, Abramoff rose to become the nation’s most successful and prominent lobbyist, before becoming enmeshed in the most harrowing political scandal since Watergate.
Abramoff was College Republican National Chairman from 1981 to 1985 (He built that organization into the largest student political organization in the free world), a founding member of the International Freedom Foundation and served on the board of directors of the National Center For Public Policy Research. From 1994 to 2001 he was a top lobbyist for the firm of Preston Gates and Ellis (Where he built one of the nation’s most prestigious and profitable lobbying practices) and then for Greenberg Traurig until March 2004. Abramoff’s arsenal included his “Signatures” restaurant, one of the Capital’s finest, some of the best sports tickets in the nation, and an unlimited capacity to raise funds to fuel the political system which made his power possible.
Abramoff had it all. And then it was gone. In an instant, his world collapsed and Abramoff fell into the abyss, eventually landing in federal prison, his name becoming synonymous with corruption and what’s wrong with our government. After a guilty plea in the Indian Lobbying Scandal and his dealings with SunCruz Casinos in January 2006, he was sentenced to six years in federal prison for mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and tax evasion. He served 43 months before being released on December 3, 2010. After his release from prison, he wrote the book Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Corruption From America’s Most Notrious Lobbyist which was published in November 2011. Abramoff’s lobbying and the surrounding scandals and investigation are the subject of two 2010 films: the documentary Casino Jack and The United States Of Money, and the feature film “Casino Jack” starring Kevin Spacey as Abramoff.
Here “The King Of Kamelot” sits down in NYC with “America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist”, Jack Abramoff, right after he was Bill Maher’s guest on HBO’s Real Time, to talk about his incredible fall from grace from the top of the Political World to Convicted Felon, his memoir Capitol Punishment, how he has changed his life for the better and the great work he is doing right now to expose and change the corruption in Washington, how he rose through the ranks to become a lobbying powerhouse, what it was like in Prison and the remorse he feels for what he did, how bad it was and still is behind the scenes of the corruption of the political world, his new radio show on SiriusXM, some of the more extravagant gifts and bribes he used with politicians like Bob Ney, and sooo much more!! It was surreal to sit and chat with a man who was one of the biggest political stories of my lifetime (I shared with him how my colleagues and I sat and watched him during the trial while I was still a Financial Advisor!), but Jack couldn’t have been nicer, more open about his experiences, and truly remorseful for the crimes he had committed. It was also wonderful to see how he is using his mistakes to expose and change the current political system for the better and I admire him for that! Enjoy Kade Nation!
Here is Jack Abramoff on Real Time With Bill Maher right before sitting down with me!
And here is the 60 Minutes story done on Jack that was one of their most talked about episodes re-airing tonight on CBS!
And here is Jack on with CNN’s Starting Point With Soledad O’Brien the morning he sat down with me: