The Corner

Former Blunt Chief-of-Staff Hired Disgraced Abramoff

This is from an article from Roll Call on March 24, 2004. It is about how Jack Abramoff, already under investigation and shedding clients, was booted from the firm of Greenberg Traurig, but hired by Cassidy & Associates–by Roy Blunt’s former chief of staff Gregg Hartley. This article wasn’t fed to me by either of the other two campaigns or anyone associated with their “camps.” It doesn’t mean that Blunt or his former chief-of-staff did anything wrong, but it is nervous-making. These are the kind of threads reporters are going to be pulling very hard if Blunt becomes majority leader.

Here are some relevant pieces from it:

Embattled Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff landed a consulting job Tuesday with powerhouse Washington lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates in a deal that could help both sides weather troubled times.

Cassidy, the No. 2 firm on K Street last year, hired Abramoff to help recruit new business. He will not have an office at Cassidy, and he will not lobby on behalf of clients.

“His job is to refer business,” said Aimee Steel, a spokeswoman for Cassidy.

Abramoff was forced to resign from his lobbying post with Greenberg Traurig LLC earlier this month and now stands at the center of a Senate investigation into the exorbitant lobbying fees he charged a string of American Indian tribes.

Steel said Cassidy is not concerned that the investigation into its new hire would sully the firm.

“We place great importance on ethical and professional standards,” she said…

…he has already lost several of his most lucrative clients of 2003.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan terminated a lobbying contract with Abramoff after the tribe ousted its government at the end of 2003.

The Saginaw tribe was Abramoff’s richest client last year, paying him $2.2 million to represent their interests in Washington.

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, another million-dollar client, is in the middle of a dispute over its leadership that may catapult Abramoff…

…A longtime confidant of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and the GOPleadership, Abramoff was brought into Cassidy by Gregg Hartley, a former top aide to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

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