Riches to rags for disgraced lobbyist

2010-06-24 07:57

Disgraced millionaire super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, newly released

from prison, has taken a job at a kosher pizzeria for pay of no more than $10

(about R75) an hour, The New York Times reported today.

Abramoff, once among Washington’s most influential power brokers,

started working this week at Tov Pizza in Baltimore, Maryland, where he earns

between seven and a half and 10 dollars an hour, according to the


The pizzeria’s owner, Ron Rosenbluth, told The Times: “He is not

the monster he has been portrayed as.”

Abramoff served three and a half years at a minimum security prison

camp in Cumberland, Maryland, outside Washington and is now living at a halfway

house which arranged the pizzeria job, the daily wrote.

“People ask me ‘why would you ever hire Jack Abramoff?’”,

Rosenbluth said, “I say, ‘why wouldn’t I hire Jack Abramoff?’ He’s paying his

debt to society, right?”

Abramoff became one of Washington’s leading lobbyists during the

Republican rise to power in Congress in the 1990s and expanded his influence

with George W Bush’s capture of the White House in December 2000.

He was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for wire and mail

fraud after pleading guilty to defrauding lenders in a Florida gambling boat


He also pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to corrupt public

officials, mail fraud and tax evasion in a lobbying operation that involved

providing large amounts of money and favours to the offices of Republican

members of Congress.

Abramoff’s guilty pleas helped force from their jobs two lawmakers,

several top Congressional aides and a senior Bush administration official, and

contributed to the Republican Party losing control of Congress in 2006.

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