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January 04, 2006 09:00 AM UTC

Musgrave Returns Money From Abramoff's Wife

  • by: Colorado Pols

We’ve been writing in this space for a long time that several Colorado Republicans could be in trouble, either legally or by association, because of connections with Rep. Tom DeLay or lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave’s office has already started backpedaling. From The Rocky Mountain News:

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave has decided to give $1,000 to charity “to remove any hint of impropriety” about the $1,000 campaign contribution she got from the wife of embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff, chief of staff Guy Short said today.

Musgrave, R-Fort Morgan, received $1,000 for her first congressional campaign in 2002 from Pamela Abramoff, whose husband, Jack, pleaded guilty this week to charges of trying to improperly influence members of congress. Today in Florida he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud charges stemming from his 2000 purchase of a gambling boat fleet called SunCruz, the Associated Press reported.

Musgrave’s $1,000 pales compared to the tens of thousands of dollars that other members of Congress — both Republicans and Democrats — have received from Abramoff, his wife or his tribal lobbying clients.

Still, “just to remove any hint of impropriety, the congresswoman has donated $1,000 to the Crossroads Safe House,” a domestic violence shelter in Fort Collins, Short said. “The congresswoman has no relationship with Jack Abramoff. She doesn’t know Jack Abramoff, and Jack Abramoff doesn’t know the congresswoman. He never called us and requested anything.”

It looks like Sen. Wayne Allard could also be dragged through the mud on this one:

According to Federal Elections Commission data compiled by the group Center for Responsive Politics, Allard received $2,000 apiece from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and Tigua Indian Reservation in 2002, when they were Abramoff clients. Allard’s chief of staff, Sean Conway, could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but told the Grand Junction Sentinel that linking his boss to Abramoff because of the tribes’ contributions was a “classic case of guilt by association.”

Former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who once chaired the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and led an investigation into Abramoff last year, received $12,000 from Abramoff’s tribal clients from 2002 to 2004. Campbell said Tuesday that when he was in office he intentionally steered clear of Abramoff because of his reputation.

“This whole Abramoff thing has tainted the tribal money, which is not right,” said Campbell, an honorary chief of the Northern Cheyenne tribe. “They have a right to contribute. Everyone in Congress now is running away from the Indians.”

President Bushs re-election campaign, among others, is giving up $6,000 in campaign contributions connected to Abramoff, according to the Associated Press.


39 thoughts on “Musgrave Returns Money From Abramoff’s Wife

  1. $1,000???  She couldn’t have been considered too worthy of Abramoff if that’s all she got.  (Put in context the $98,000 or so given to John Kerry, or the $60,000 or so given to Harry Reid).

    She got chump change by comparison.

  2. Interesting… they make a big post about Musgrave returning the money.

    Now the nagging question returns.. Why aren’t the Dems giving money back?

  3. Raiders,
    I just watched the Leher report on the local PBS station (6)… there were ONLY Republicans (with their photos) mentioned in the story.  Not ONE Democrat name even mentioned, in spite of the tens of thousands that have been laid in their troughs.

    My guess is that they’re not mentioned because of the obvious — they’ve shamelessly KEPT IT.

  4. Bad Moon,

      Neither Reid, nor Kerry, nor any other Democrat received donations from Mr. Abramoff or his wife.
      Some parts of the media are going out of their way to try to make this something other than a Republican scandal, and you seem to be a victim of that attempt. You should know that although Abramoff did have clients who made donations to Democratic candidates (and many of the names on the lists circulating out there only made those contributions years before they had even hired Abramoff) the bribery seems to fall squarely on a single side of the aisle.
      It is amazing that in just ten years, the maverick outsider reform party of Newt Gingrich, reverted back to being the corrupted establishment party of Nixon.

      If we want to include in our net all of the organizations on the peripheries that were touched by Abramoff and later touched candidates, then I suspect that Musgrave has a lot more than $1000 to return. Of course, she has little guidence from her leaders in that regard. The $3000 in direct Abramoff donations that the Bush campaign is returning seems fairly weak gesture after having named Abramoff a ‘pioneer’ for steering them over $100000.

  5. Go Raiders,

      Here is the complete list of Jack Abramoff’s donations for the last election cycle. These are the donations that those Republicans are returning.

      Which Democrat do you think “Kept It”?
      I’ll give you a hint, you might have a hard time finding one because not a single Democrat was amongst the bribed.

  6. So that means that most all Republicans are evil nasty money grubing thiefs and Democrats are good and proper pure as the driven snow types, huh?
    Sorry, don’t believe ya.

    Have ya ever thought maybe your precious Democrats are maybe just better at stealing than those nasty bastard Republicans?

  7. Gecko,

      Sorry, but Abramoff and Delay and the whole K-Street party is a Republican machine.
      I don’t think it is something inborn in people of any particular party to be prone to corruption, but when a single party controls the House, the Senate, The judiciary, and the executive, it is only natural that the crime happens there.

      I think that we should clean out all the scum regardless of affiliation. If a Democrat went along on those golf trips to Scotland with the Republicans, or if a Democratic charity is shown to be like the phony “Celebrations for Children” or “US Family Network” that funneled millions of dollars into corrupt pockets the way that Abramoff and Delay benefited from their scams, then lock them up.

      Lock up everyone from every party who abuses the power of their offices.

      But I also think to do that, we need some checks and balances in the system. When a single party holds all the reins, then there is nothing to stop the poison from festering.
      Break the monopoly on power, and then as the corruption tries to distribute itself around the spectrum, men of conscience on both sides of the room will be able to fight it without having to cower in craven partizanship.

  8. TakeBack,

    I can see there’ll be no point in further discussions with you on this.

    If you truly believe that Reid, Kerry, and other top Dems haven’t been involved with Abramoff, well, then that’s your business.  And if you’re limiting your search (read that: BLINDERS ON) to the last election cycle, well then it’s no wonder you think that no Democrats are up to their eyeballs in slime vis-a-vis Abramoff.

  9. it’s pretty simple.  If Democrats were involved with Abramoff in ANY election, then go get the proof.  Stop posting bullshit that you can’t back up.  Go find any record in the FEC, Opensecrets or wherever that shows Abromhoff gave money to a Democrat and post it.  Otherwise you’re full of shit.

    As for “Democrats are good and proper pure as the driven snow types…,” that’s just retarded.

  10. You’re right – it is simple… unless you’ve been living on Mars, that is.

    Do a google on Abramoff and Dorgan (Byron Dorgan.  He’s the Sr. Democrat on the committee that was INVESTIGATING Abramoff, by the way).  Read the article from Dec. 14, 2005 in the Washington Post about it.

    He was made to repay $67,000 in contributions that came by way of Abramoff.

    And not that I won’t bother going into your foul-mouthed gutter to discuss this.

  11. Oh – and in that same Wash. Post article, Tom Harkin has also admitted that he didn’t bother with reporting two fundraisers held in Abramoff’s luxury skybox in 2002 and 2003.

    It’s up to you if you want to ignore that, too.

  12. Oh – and in that same Wash. Post article, Tom Harkin has also admitted that he didn’t bother with reporting two fundraisers held in Abramoff’s luxury skybox in 2002 and 2003.

    It’s up to you if you want to ignore that, too.

  13. Oh, and a Congresscritter named Patrick Kennedy from Rhode Island, has accepted $42,500 from the Abramoff “K Street machine”. 

    In an AP article from 1/4/2005:

    Rep. Patrick Kennedy, citing his support for American Indian causes, says he has no plans to return any of the $42,500 he took from tribes represented by GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

  14. Bad Moon,

      Show me any record of a donation from Abramoff to a Democrat.

      Patrick Kennedy, who was the co-founder of the Congressional Native American Caucus in 1997, did recieve donations from the Mississippi Choctaw Tribe.
      Abramoff did later represent the tribe in their efforts to secure gambling legislation.

      This is your evidence of Democratic Party involvement with Abramoff?

      My evidence of Republican involvement includes the checks he personally signed over to ‘Americans for a Republican Majority’. the ‘Republican Majority Fund’, and George W. Bush.

      Is there really any doubt in your mind that Abramoff is a Republican?

  15. Well, as I suspected, folks like our friend “TakeBack” here aren’t interested in learning the truth about Abramoff.

    But of course, I, too, could ask inane questions like, “Hey, TakeBack, show me the receipts and / or cancelled checks from Abramoff to GOPers”.

    And we could go round and round.

    Go visit the Wash. Post article that I provided, TakeBack, and let me know what you see.

    To get beyond the suspense of you avoiding the visit to the site, I’ll provide you with a nugget from it:

    Abramoff funneled $1.04 MM in funding to various GOP sources, and more than $758,000 to Democrats’ sources.

    You can only lead a horse to water, my friend, and I’m not about to continue wasting any more time on trying to convince you that all those trees in the distance make a forest.

  16. Bad Moon,

      I, of course, have read that article. It should be obvious by now that I do my homework on these things. The discussion was about returning the donations made by Abramoff, and you continue to talk about donations made by Native American tribal nations to Democrats. It does not suprise me that such groups made donations to candidates who have long supported their causes, and I disagree with the claim that this money was ‘funneled’ by Abramoff.

      I do agree with you that you are wasting your time trying to whitewash this most recent example of the culture of corruption that pervades the RNC with a brush of “everyone’s doing it.”
      A better way to steal my support from the Democrats would be to take a stand against the people who are dragging your party through the mud, and be the party of integrity.
      Telling me that accepting contributions from tribal groups is the same as accepting bribes from a man who has plead guilty to felonies just isn’t going to change my mind.

      Sleep well, I am sure there will be fresh Republican scandals for you to defend in the morning.

      Oh, and before I head off myself, while I don’t have the checks themselves (I think they are in an evidence lock-up due to a felony bribery investigation) I can link you to many scans of SEC itemized reciepts of the same, like this…

    Goodnight Moon

  17. “I do agree with you that you are wasting your time trying to whitewash this most recent example of the culture of corruption that pervades the RNC with a brush of “everyone’s doing it.”


    You clearly have me confused with someone else.  NOWHERE have I ever even implied that sort of nonsense.

    My replies were all directed to your claims that this was GOP-only… and it clearly is not – as the WaPost chart shows, it’s nearly equally filthy in DC between Dems & Repubs.

    You can provide all the FEC links you’d like – but when folks like Harkin HAVEN’T REPORTED THEM, it’s not very likely they’ll even show up.

    We do agree on ONE THING:  all those involved who are found guilty should be locked up (and yes, resign their seats, too).

    Trying to steal your vote away?  Laughable.  I don’t know your party affiliation any more than you know mine.  Nice try.

  18. “the culture of corruption that pervades the RNC “


    Well, who knew that Nancy Pelosi was posting here?  LOL

    Hey, Nancy, how’s are those ethics charges coming along?

  19. So that means that most all Republicans are evil nasty money grubing thiefs and Democrats are good and proper pure as the driven snow types, huh?

    Of course not, and no one has said anything of the sort.

    An eight grade social studies class could tell you that political scandals are about power and access to power, so naturally this is a Republican scandal.

    What purpose would it serve to bribe a Democrat in Washington, DC?

  20. It’s an equal opportunity scandal. There are at least 40 Democrats, maybe more.

    Harry Reid accepted $30,500. Kind of makes Marilyn’s donation look paltry, wouldn’t you say?

    You can see the donations here.

    Capital Eye

    But, it should be remembered that accepting a campaign donation is not illegal in itself. Proving a prid quo pro is going to be very difficult.

  21. they are playing a semantics game, they know that Abramoff and his wife have only personally donated to Republican’s so they instead find organizations tangently related to Abramoff who have donated to Dems and use that as some sort of proof that Dems are just as caught up in this scandal as the GOP.

    It’s pretty funny to watch actually.

  22. I’ll re-state this for those who haven’t absorbed it yet:

    Abramoff had clients; his clients have donated to Democrats over the years, especially where they agree on policy.  Harry Reid received campaign money from Indian tribes because Indian tribes have gambling interests, just like his state of Nevada.  Byron Dorgan accepted campaign money from Indian tribes, because he represents Native interests well in his position on the Indian Affairs Committee.  If Harkin failed to do some reporting, then he’s got a problem, I’d say.

    Now let’s go over to the GOP side.  Bob Ney received money from Abramoff and his clients because… he agreed to put nasty comments into the Congressional Record about Abramoff’s now-murdered business partner.  Conrad Burns received money from Abramoff because… he agreed to reverse his position on a bill that he’d just rejected the prior session of Congress.

    I wrote this the other day: there will be probably fewer than a dozen Congressmen – all Republican – and maybe twice as many staffers indicted for blatant influence-peddling.  These are the folks on Abramoff’s favorite trip list, on his comp list at Signatures, and who did really stupid things like Ney did (Ney is already mentioned in the Michael Scanlon indictment).  Additionally, Grover Norquist and probably Ralph Reed will be taken down by this scandal (again, Norquist IIRC is implicated by the Scanlon indictment). 

    Finally, regarding Rep. Musgrave’s $1000 campaign take: President Bush donated $6000 of Abramoff money yesterday, but Abramoff is listed as a Pioneer (raised >$100,000 for Bush); just because Musgrave only “found” $1000 doesn’t mean she isn’t in hock for a lot more to Abramoff, his clients, and his money-laundering operations.  I thought I saw a number more like $50,000 for Musgrave’s Abramoff-related donations – I’ll try to dig it up.  And again, some of those donations are probably innocent.

  23. Now it appears that even Hillary! is giving Abramoff money back:  (from  The same can’t be said for Charlie Rangel, though.


    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign is contributing $2,000 in donations from American Indian tribes that were clients of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He’s now at the center of a congressional corruption probe.

    Clinton spokeswoman Ann Lewis, in a statement, said to ensure that there’s no question of any link to Abramoff, Friends of Hillary will contribute the cash to a New York charity.

    But Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel of Harlem, who received $36,000 in donations from Abramoff clients, says he’s keeping the money.

    A Rangel spokesman say Abramoff’s guilty pleas won’t affect Rangel’s decision.


  24. I might be spinning for my party, but at least I’m not in denial of reality; I’m okay seeing corrupt members of my own party brought down.

    But only Republicans have been named in the indictments brought so far.  Only Republicans were on the Signatures comp list.  Only Republicans get support from laundered money going through Norquist’s organizations from Abramoff.  Only Republicans like Ney and Burns have been exposed as doing anything directly influential for Abramoff.  (While I don’t discount the Norton letter, a lot of people signed it, and Norton’s office was influenced a lot more directly by Abramoff than that letter…)

    And while I’m at it, it is Republicans who are refusing to call the House in to session so that they can re-elect a leader who most certainly will get an ironclad indictment out of the Abramoff investigation regardless of the outcome of his current trial.  It was Republicans including Musgrave and Beauprez who voted to remove the ethics from the Ethics Committee Rules, and Republicans who stacked that committee with DeLay partisans.  It is a Republican President who has no fewer than 4 of his top fundraisers under indictment.  It was a regional Republican director who was recently convicted for interfering with Democratic GOTV phone banks and whos legal fines were paid by the RNC afterwards.  There are at least 5 Republican governor’s offices under investigation and/or indictment (compared to one much smaller Dem issue).

    Going further afield, it is our Republican President who has said he will ignore the law if his judgement says so.  It is the Republican Party who seems to think that appointing Secretaries of State as state campaign managers does not promote a conflict-of-interest.  It is in Republican-controlled states where Unconstitutional voter ID laws are being enacted, voter rights reduced, and the least accountability required for elections.  It is the Republican Senate threatening to override Senate Rules against the Senate Reuls.  It is the Republican President appointing and the Republican Senate confirming crony appointments – even since Brownie’s miserable failure during Katrina.

    In short, it is the Republican Party that is systematically destroying the integrity of our government.  And why not – the Grover Norquist branch of the party, which includes the President and the House Leadership, doesn’t believe that government is a Good Thing; how better to prove that than to drive it into the ground and discredit it?

  25. What halos?  Trafficant, Rostenkowski, LBJ (for the Tonkin incident)…

    It’s just that Republicans for the most part seem to dream in larger terms: Watergate, Iran-Contra, Cunningham (who resoundingly takes the prize for largest payola), Abramoff, domestic spying.  If the GOP spent as much time dreaming up solutions to our energy problems as they did abusing their power, we’d be running off of Zero Point Energy by now.

  26. So you are saying that over the course of history if there was no Republican party or at least Republican attitude, we would be living in a Democratic utopia? Everything the Democrats do to bring peace, prosperity, and rightousness to our country is offset by the nasty Republicans?

    I am of the opinion that there are stealing crook bastards on all sides. If there was no Republican party there would still be scandals. Human nature itself is the catalyst for crime. Don’t blame an entire party for the doings of a few. I seem to remember the last President we had being a lying cheating pig. With multiple scandals in Arkansas to boot. Now his wife will probably try to weasel in too. But I’m not sure you can fit a halo on her sorry head.

  27. Gecko,

      If you think there are “crook bastards on all sides”, don’t you think it is a bad idea to have all the levers of power in the hands of a single group of crook bastards? Let’s get them investigating and prosecuting one another.

      ‘Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.’

      Let’s weaken the power of some of the entrenched crook bastards, and replace them with a few crook bastards who can hold the other side accountable, and be held accountable in turn.

      Your argument is one of the best I can think of why you should try to stir the mix a bit this year by voting Democrats into the Congress.

  28. TBTH, I agree with you. My point has been the “our side against your side” attitude. I have voted Republican, Democrat, and Independant in the past. I try to vote for the most qualified candidate. I do not hold party lines above all else.
    Although my preferences are candidates that run on a basically conservative platform. I hate far left liberals, but am not overly fond of extreme right conservatives either.
    I even voted for Ross Perot a few years back as there wasn’t a “none of the above” button to push………..
    In short, we never know which one of our elected officials are going to jab the knife in our backs when they get a chance. But we can’t assume that it is only party lines that determine who is bad and who is pure…….

  29. This is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue. It’s an issue about the essential nature of politics in this country. Nothing new here.

    I’m surprised at the lengthy polemic.

    And, for those who are so righteously donating some or all of the Abramoff-inspired money to charities… I’m reminded of “good” Catholics who  attend mass only on Easter and Christmas.

    Hypocrisy reigns.

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