"In the middle of the aughts, you’ll remember, Republicans had run basically every branch of elected federal government, and George W. Bush had just won re-election over a John Kerry. At the time, a lobbying scandal was just starting to unfold that would paint a picture of government for sale, with a cheap crook named Jack Abramoff at its center.
The scandal would reach right into the heart of Isabella County. Abramoff took money from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to construct a voter database that ultimately helped pass a constitutional amendment limiting gaming in Michigan. He took, if memory serves, more than a million, which according to one expert in the field of voter databases could be had for around $10,000. While doing so, Abramoff cast the Tribe’s then-chief as a Neanderthal in e-mails he swapped with his Beltway buddies. He ripped off the Tribe, and did so while holdings its members in thinly veiled, bigoted scorn.
At the time, I wrote a couple of columns about the scandal, and referred to Abramoff as a parasite and lower than pond scum. Well, I’ve learned a lot since then, and I was unfair. Parasites, I’ve learned, can not only play critical roles in local biological communities, but have a diversity to them that is to be admired. It was wrong of me to equate them to Jack Abramoff."
Get the Story:
ERIC BAERREN: Casino Jack's back; what's his game?
(The Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun 1/5)
Convicted Lobbyist Abramoff Tells Lawmakers to Be Wary of Money
(Bloomberg News 1/5)
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