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10/13/2004

Who Is Jack Abramoff? College Republican, Manichaean

Jack Abramoff swindled tens of millions of dollars from Native American tribes. He pled the fifth before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, while his cohort Mike Scanlon dodged the subpoena.

This scandal has received a muted reaction in the liberal universe - whether because of outrage fatigue or preoccupation with more immediate concerns, we haven't Hammered this home. Abramoff is a big conservative fish, we need to make sure he rots on the shore.

Abramoff got his start in politics while at Brandeis, chairing the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans from 1980-1981. Teaming with Harvard contemporary and lifelong fellow traveler Grover Norquist, Abramoff's organizational acumen allegedly won Massachusetts for Reagan.

As head of the Massachusetts Federation of College Republican Clubs, Jack Abramoff (elected National Chairman in 1981) produced over 10,000 youth votes. Reagan won by only 3,000 votes. [College Republican History PDF]
From the Mass. Alliance, Abramoff jumped up to College Republican National Chairman (CRNC), a post he held from 1981-1985. Soon after Abramoff took the reigns as CRNC, Ralph Reed showed up at his door looking for a job:


[Nina J. Easton, Gang of Five 135]

The Abramoff-Norquist-Reed axis quickly took steps to consolidate power in the College Republicans.


[Nina J. Easton, Gang of Five 139-141]

While working for the College Republicans, he and Norquist set up the United Students of America Foundation, a 501(c)3 "dedicated to educating students on the need to defund political activism on campus" that funneled money to conservative causes.


[Nina J. Easton, Gang of Five 145-146]

Abramoff assumed the chair of the USA foundation in 1984. He became a member of the Council for National Policy in 1984. He founded the International Freedom Foundation in 1985. He became executive director of the Reagan aligned organization Citizens for America in 1985. All of these are Heritage Foundation aligned organizations.

But I get ahead of myself. From Nina Easton's book, which every liberal who wants to understand conservatism needs to read, more on the climate Abramoff fostered at the College Republicans:


[Nina J. Easton, Gang of Five 142]


[Nina J. Easton, Gang of Five 143]

They treated their allies poorly, but their enemies worse.


[Nina J. Easton, Gang of Five 150-151]

As an aside, Ralph Nader's campaign is currently being funded by people like Abramoff.

Everybody shold buy Nina Easton's book so that I don't feel guilty about ripping so much of it off.

 

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