Although he (or she) is probably getting chewed out right now, whoever it was who invited Jack Abramoff to speak to state legislators at their annual ethics session to begin this legislative session deserves a pat on the back.
Abramoff is the perfect voice for legislators to hear in a session in which the chief issue (once again) is casino gambling. Abramoff went to jail for three and half years in a corruptions scandal that involved lobbyists, congressional aides--and even reached into the White House.
Much of it involved casino money.
Abramoff was convicted in 2,006 for fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy in connection with his lobbying activities on behalf of Indian tribes who paid him over $80 million for lobbying for their interests in Washington. He even bilked the tribes he was working for. He was also indicted in 2005 for his involvement in the purchase of a Florida casino.
His presence in Kentucky is fortuitous, since the gambling industry has given millions in campaign contributions to legislators, many of whom plan on voting for a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling in the state--and for the present governor who is pressing their cause.
The last big legislative scandal in the state was BOPtrot, another gambling related scandal. Time will tell whether lawmakers listen to Abramoff's warnings about what big money can do to those who set policy for the state.
It makes you wonder...