Fallout in the South from GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff's corrupt dealings show no signs of letting up. Add Arkansas to Mr. Neal's survey of Southern entanglements yesterday, although the state GOP is working hard to appear unfazed.
In the ongoing saga of who's returning Jack's money and who's not, the Arkansas GOP made it clear that they're keeping the cash:
The Republican Party of Arkansas said Thursday it would not return a $10,000 contribution from indicted Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Abramoff because none of the money is left from the 2001 contribution.
They can't find $10,000 anywhere? I thought party fundraising was going gangbusters? Aside from pleading poverty, the other line of defense is everybody's doing it:
State GOP officials also said taking money tied to Abramoff is not unique to them or to Republicans and noted that a number of Democrats, including U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both D-Ark., had received contributions from the embattled lobbyist.
Which raises an important distinction. The Arkansas GOP was the only group in the state to get a direct, personal contribution from Abramoff. But the Arkansas GOP website, for example, attempts to discredit Rep. Blanche Lincoln (D) for taking "2,000 from Abramoff affiliated Indian tribes."
So any contribution from a Native American group that happened to get entangled with Abramoff is suspect? Rep. Vic Snyder (D) sees this as a diversion:
"It bothers me that the focus in this case has been on people who were clients of Abramoff and who they gave money to," Snyder said. "The focus should be on the felons and the corruption, not on the people who happen to have hired or worked with Abramoff at some time."