Vanity Fair is set to publish a tell-all interview with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, noting that his plea-bargain sentence can be "substantially reduced" by co-operating with investigators.
The piece makes much of many prominent Republicans' denials of having worked with Abramoff. Abramoff reminisces about jokes President Bush, who now claims not to remember him, made about his weight training program. Abramoff also recalls discussing the Bible, opera, and golf with Tom DeLay.
Abramoff also alleges that RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman provided Abramoff political favors--including aiding in the removal of a State Department official.
Abramoff also claims to have funneled $50,000 donated by clients to a charity he set up to pay for a golf trip for himself, Ohio Republican Bob Ney, and former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed (currently seeking the office of Lt. Governor for the state of Georgia). Reed also once served as Abramoff's projects director.
The article is supported by images of Abramoff with everyone from Ronald Reagan (left, joined by Abramoff and Grover Norquist) to Newt Gingrich, and is prefaced by a two-page spread of the lobbyist golfing with Tom DeLay. The Gingrich photo is signed, "Your friend, Newt Gingrich." "I have more pictures of Newt than I have of my wife," the fallen lobbyist tells the magazine.
The article also notes that the photographs taken with President Bush, which are in Abramoff's possession, are the lobbyist's sole "potential source of funds."
Abramoff says it would be "stupid" to send him to prison, saying he'd rather sweep floors at an Indian reservation.
“Let me teach English, history, music," he quipped. "Or let me sweep floors at the reservation. Instead you’ll be paying to feed me to sit in a jail.”
In the past, Vanity Fair lawyers have demanded that RAW STORY not print excerpts from their pieces (including the four paragraphs generally allowed by law). The magazine has, however, made the entire article available in PDF format here.