Jack Abramoff, one of Washington’s most notorious former lobbyists, came to Tallahassee on Tuesday as part of his crusade against what he calls “the corrupting influence of money on public policy.”
He called out a constitutional amendment on solar energy backed by the state’s utilities, as “one of the oldest lobbyists’ tricks in the book” because it is “intended to confuse people” and detract the proponents of a rival amendment.
He detailed his tricks of the lobbying trade before he was convicted on federal fraud and tax evasion charges: buying goodwill from members of Congress with campaign contributions, sports and concert tickets, meals and golf outings and the promise of lucrative jobs to members of their staff.
And he called for “draconian reform” to “stop folks like me” — including the banning of any corporate interest, special interest or individual who wants to petition government on public policy from contributing any money to any elected official or political campaign.
“Lobbying was for me a series of political battles. Unfortunately, winning became everything. I stopped paying attention to the lines in the sand — the rules,” said Abramoff who pleaded guilty in Miami on Jan. 3, 2006 on charges stemming from his lobbying activities in Washington on behalf of Native American tribes, including steering millions to favored lawmakers.