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Jack Abramoff, former king of Washington’s lobbyists, appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher” this weekend to discuss his best seller, “Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth about Washington Corruption from America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist,”, corruption in Washington and the 2012 election.
Maher kicked off his interview noting, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling this week affirming Obamacare, 3,300 registered health-care lobbyists continue to try to influence Congress.
“What is the best way – you would know better than anybody – to get the money out of politics?’ Maher asked.
“The only thing that’s going to do it is beating some of these members over this issue,” said Abramoff.
“I’m working with some reform groups right now. We’ve come up with some very serious legislation to actually make some changes, and we’re going to implement a political plan that’s pretty tough and take some of these guys out.”
Abramoff refused to say which candidate he was supporting for president, noting that his endorsement would be a negative for whichever candidate he backed.
“Join the club, Jack,” replied Maher.
Abramoff served three years in prison after pleading guilty in 2006 to charges related to his donations, meals, trips and tickets to sports events for lawmakers and top aides in Washington to push the interests of his clients, native American tribes with casino operations.
It took only about 10 years for Abramoff to make himself the most powerful lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Congressmen lined up to do his bidding, executives heeded his advice and heads of governments hung on his every word. But when scandal brought him down – ultimately casting him into disgrace and even prison – this power broker said nothing.
Now a free man, a reformed and contrite Abramoff is exposing the mysterious and corrupt world of federal politics as never before in “Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth about Washington Corruption from America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist.”
Branded by a TIME magazine cover as “The Man Who Bought Washington,” Jack was the centerpiece of the largest D.C. scandal in since Watergate. Sentenced to prison, Abramoff became the poster child for why the political system needed to be cleaned up – but has the system really been fixed? In “Capitol Punishment,” Abramoff pulls back the curtain on K Street, revealing the dirty underbelly of America’s government and offers a harsh, thorough roster of reform imperatives. There will be little applause inside the beltway.