Bill Moyers has worked for years trying to teach us how Grover Norquist, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed, Tom DeLay and others took control of Washington, DC.
In this transcript, Moyers reports:
BILL MOYERS: As college students, Jack Abramoff and another young Republican, Grover Norquist, organized campuses for Ronald Reagan. Now Norquist had become Abramoff's executive director. Together they intended to remove liberals from power, as Abramoff put it, "permanently."Norquist masterminded a takeover of K Street lobbyists, and it worked. It might still be working. Oh, wait, the country is now in such bad shape as a result of the greed and corruption unleashed by Norquist, Abramoff, Reed, now banished DeLay, and the morally bankrupt, hateful Republican party, that Grover might be losing power. What I want to know is why didn't all these cohorts do jail time?
BILL MOYERS: In November 1994, Republicans won eight new Senate seats and a whopping 52 seats in the House.To this day, it is difficult to understand how Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed avoided jail along with their cohort, Jack Abramoff.
The revolution imagined by Abramoff and his College Republicans was embodied in Newt Gingrich, the new Speaker of the House. Gingrich put Washington on notice: "If you want to play in our revolution," he said, "you have to live by our rules."
BILL MOYERS: And at the center of the action was Grover Norquist, a chief architect of the revolution.
BILL MOYERS: The K Street Project paved the way for Jack Abramoff. The firm announced its new hire with a press release touting Abramoff's ties to the Republican National Committee, to the Christian Coalition headed by his old pal, Ralph Reed, and to the new leaders of the House, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.
But there was no one more indispensable to Abramoff's rise than Grover Norquist.
MICHAEL WALLER: They were probably about as inseparable as two political people can get.
BILL MOYERS: "What the Republicans need is fifty Jack Abramoffs," Norquist said. "Then this becomes a different town." So it did.
We all know the story of how Abramoff fleeced the Chocktaw tribe for about $7,000,000. What most of the media neglected to do was to point out the fact that Abramoff couldn't have pulled off his greedy grab without his college buddies, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, and easily corrupted Tom DeLay. Jack did all the jail time. Delay's greed and sense of safety in scamming got him into trouble.
Norquist and Reed seem to be teflon criminals.
Moyers and others clearly uncovered how Abramoff's money, taken from The Chocktow Tribe, filtered to Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed:
BILL MOYERS: To keep secret the source of the Choctaw money paid to Reed and the Christian groups he recruited, Abramoff turned to their old friend Grover Norquist. When Norquist needed money for his own organization, he turned to Jack.Bill Moyers reporting includes this money flow chart and includes the following statement:
[E-mail from GROVER NORQUIST]: What is the status of the Choctaw stuff. I have a $75K hole in my budget from last year. Ouch.
Grover Norquist was the brainiac behind the corruption, and Republican takeover, of K Street, whose lobbying money has infected our very democracy.
The transcript continues
BILL MOYERS: In a reminder to himself, Abramoff notes:Again, this is money Jack Abramoff is taking from the Chocktaw tribe.
[E-mail from JACK ABRAMOFF]: Call Ralph re Grover doing pass-through.
BILL MOYERS: And then tells Reed:
[E-mail from JACK ABRAMOFF]: I need to give Grover something for helping, so the first transfer will be a bit lighter.
BILL MOYERS: But not to worry with the next $300,000. So when Norquist again kept a cut for his cause, Abramoff registers his surprise:
[E-mail from JACK ABRAMOFF]: Grover kept another $25K!
The Washington Post also did some reporting back in 2006.
The article begins with this paragraph:
Newly released documents in the Jack Abramoff investigation shed light on how the lobbyist secretly routed his clients' funds through tax-exempt organizations with the acquiescence of those in charge, including prominent conservative activist Grover Norquist.Abramoff and Norquist had found their road-to-gold niche. Norquist helped Abramoff land a BIG lobbyist job, Abramoff convinced the lobbying firm to pay Norquist as well as his Chocktaw client to pay Norquist. In time, their old friend Ralph Reed wanted in on the action. And, as Moyers coins, THE TROIKA was launched and the millions flowed.
As the money passed through, Norquist's organization kept a small cut, e-mails show.
A second group Norquist was involved with, the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, received about $500,000 in Abramoff client funds;
From WaPo again:
Norquist's relationship with Abramoff's gambling clients began in 1995 when Congress was considering taxing tribal casinos.SO WHY DOES GROVER NORQUIST STILL HOLD ANY POWER OVER REPUBLICANS?
Abramoff, then a newly registered lobbyist with Preston Gates & Ellis, e-mailed a colleague that Norquist was willing to fight a tax opposed by another of his clients -- a beverage company -- if the firm became "a major player with ATR." Abramoff suggested the firm donate $50,000 to the group.
"What is most important however is that this matter is kept discreet," Abramoff said in an e-mail on Oct. 24, 1995. "We do not want the opponents to think that we are trying to buy the taxpayer movement." He promised that Norquist would be "very active" on the issue.
The following year, according to the Senate committee report, the Choctaw tribe donated $60,000 to Americans for Tax Reform to oppose a tax on Indian casinos. By 1999, ATR was getting large sums of Choctaw money. "What is the status of the Choctaw stuff?" Norquist asked Abramoff in an e-mail that May. "I have a 75g hole in my budget from last year. ouch."
I would guess Grover has lots of files! It's how these things work, isn't it?
Where's Eric Holder on all this?