Here are the top 10 players in the Justice Department’s investigation into the lobbying activities of Jack Abramoff:
Jack Abramoff – Washington lobbyist and GOP activist who pleaded guilty Jan. 3 to defrauding American Indian tribes and conspiring to corrupt public officials. Last week, Abramoff was sentenced to five years, 10 months in prison and was ordered to pay $21 million in restitution. He is cooperating with federal authorities.
Tom Delay – Former House majority leader who Tuesday announced his resignation while under indictment for violating Texas campaign finance laws and after guilty pleas made by his former aides, Michael Scanlon and Tony Rudy, in a Justice Department investigation into bribery and influence-peddling.
Bob Ney – Republican U.S. representative from Ohio who received gifts from Abramoff, including use of a skybox at a District of Columbia sports arena and a golfing junket to Scotland, after helping Abramoff’s Indian clients re-open a casino. He was referred to as “representative No. 1” in Abramoff’s indictment.
Michael Scanlon – Former communications director to Delay who became lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s business partner and assisted Indian tribes with casino operations. Scanlon pleaded guilty Nov. 21 to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress and has agreed to assist prosecutors.
Tony Rudy – Former assistant chief of staff to Delay who last week pleaded guilty to conspiring with Abramoff and others to corrupt public officials. He has promised to cooperate with federal investigators.
Grover Norquist – President of Americans for Tax Reform and a well-known conservative activist who is under federal investigation, but has not been charged, for his business connections with Abramoff.
Conrad Burns – Republican senator from Montana who received more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from Indian tribes who had hired Abramoff to lobby Congress for their gambling operations. Burns has tried to return the contributions, although one Indian council refused to accept “tainted” money.
Konstantinos Boulis – Greek-born Florida developer and casino operator who was killed gangland-style in 2001, shortly after selling his SunCruz Casinos (which sails Americans beyond territorial waters to gamble) to a consortium headed by Abramoff.
David Safavian – Former chief of staff of the General Services Administration, he was the chief procurement official in the Bush administration and the first person arrested in the Abramoff scandal. He has been charged with making false statements and obstructing the federal investigation into Abramoff.
Edwin Buckham – Former chief of state to Delay who created the nonprofit group U.S. Family Network to promote a pro-family agenda in Congress and founded a lobbying group, Alexander Strategy Group, which he closed after Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy. Buckham reportedly was the principal beneficiary of the family network he created.
(Contact Thomas Hargrove at HargroveT(at)shns.com)