The biggest Congressional corruption scandal in a generation took down one of the best-connected Washington lobbyists yesterday, the Washington Post reports. Jack Abramoff was among the lobbyists most closely associated with the K Street Project, started by his friend and former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tx.). It was an aggressive program designed to force corporations and trade associations to hire more GOP-connected lobbyist.
The Post says Abramoff “has become a symbol of a system out of control.” His agreement to plead guilty to three criminal counts and cooperate with prosecutors threatens to ensnare lawmakers or their aides. The initial impact of a scandal that had produced a guilty plea from Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon could be changes in the way lawmakers and lobbyists interact. Congress will be pressured to revisit and toughen rules on gifts and travel that lawmakers and members of their staffs may accept.