U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., says he expects six members of the House of Representatives and at least one fellow senator to go to jail on corruption charges related to the scandal involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Coburn declined to name names, but said, “If you’ve been keeping up with things, you’ve got a pretty good idea,” according to a report in the Tulsa World.
Coburn’s remarks came during a town hall meeting at the Wagoner Civic Center attended by about 30 people, and were made in relation to his attempts to curb “earmarking” – the practice of inserting appropriations for specific projects into unrelated bills.
“Earmarks are used for the gateway drug to overspending,” Coburn said. “Everywhere you see an earmark, you’ll see a connection to a campaign contribution.”
Abramoff was sentenced to more than five years in prison last month and may face additional charges related to his dealings with several Indian tribes.
U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, has been under scrutiny after taking more than $22,000 in campaign contributions from Indian tribes that were clients of Abramoff. Former Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., has already been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for taking bribes from defense contractors.
Coburn said members of both parties have been involved in questionable dealings and mentioned U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, a West Virginia Democrat whose assets reportedly increased more than six-fold during a four-year period in which he was the senior member of the House Appropriations and Ethics committees.
“The first step in campaign finance reform is the elimination of earmarks,” Coburn said.
Coburn is the author of the WND Books title “Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders into Insiders.”