Jack Abramoff, the former lobbyist blamed for a corruption scandal that contributed to the Republican loss of Congressional control, reported to federal prison today. Abramoff, 47, began a sentence of five years and 10 months at a minimum-security prison camp in Maryland for defrauding banks of $23 million in a purchase of a Florida casino cruise line six years ago.
The Washington Post reports that Abramoff has also pleaded guilty in Washington to fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials. He is to be sentenced in that case next year, after he completes his cooperation with the Justice Department’s wide-ranging investigation of his dealings with officials in Congress and the executive branch. Eight people have been convicted or have pleaded guilty in connection with his schemes, including former Ohio representative Robert Ney. White House political adviser Karl Rove has blamed the Republican defeat at the polls last week on the Abramoff scandal and other ethics allegations involving members of Congress.