Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff puts former beneficiaries of his fundraising work in the crosshairs in his new book, up to and including former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan:
He takes a shot at Byron Dorgan, the former Democratic senator from North Dakota: “Byron Dorgan railed against the ‘cesspool of greed’ surrounding my practice. I guess it wasn’t a cesspool when he had his hand out to take over $75,000 in campaign contributions from our team and clients.”
Dorgan fires back:
“He’s probably pretty upset with me because I helped lead the investigation that helped send him to prison.” The former senator told The Huffington Post that he never met Abramoff and never took any money from him. And though Dorgan said he did receive some money from tribal donors, the record shows that Abramoff steered Native American money away from Democrats, not toward them.
“He was both a liar and thief,” Dorgan said. “What we do know is that he was corrupt. That’s what we do know. For him to allege corruption of others is pretty Byzantine.”
I’ve always found Dorgan’s claim that he never met Abramoff to be a little suspect. Maybe the two never did meet face to face, but Dorgan certainly got favors from Abramoff. The $73,000 in contributions directed at Dorgan from Abramoff clients is one thing (Dorgan was one of the top recipients of Abramoff contributions), as is Dorgan’s use of Abramoff’s suite at the MCI Center for a fundraiser as reported by the Washington Post in 2005:
In March 2001, Dorgan held a fundraising event during a hockey game in a skybox leased by an Abramoff company at MCI Center. But the senator said he believed that the box was controlled by Greenberg Traurig. The event was organized by Smith, the Democratic fundraiser, he added.
“I was unaware that Abramoff was involved,” Dorgan said.
Dorgan got tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from Abramoff clients, which Abramoff himself says he directed, and he held a swanky fundraiser at Abramoff’s suite.
But Dorgan totally didn’t know about Abramoff’s involvement in all that.
If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.