Abramoff cash and Bush-Cheney '04: Now who's living in a "glass house"?

If money from Abramoff's associates and clients carries the same taint as money from Abramoff, why isn't the Bush-Cheney campaign giving up its share?

Published January 4, 2006 5:13PM (EST)

As we noted earlier today, Jack Abramoff wasn't exactly the "equal money dispenser" the president and the Republican spin machine would like to make him out to be. As Bloomberg News does the math, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees between 2001 and 2004. His contributions to Democrats and their committees during those years: Zilch.

In order to make the case that Democrats share the taint of the disgraced lobbyist and former College Republicans president, you've got to argue that contributions from Abramoff's associates and clients carry the same sort of smell as contributions from Abramoff himself. There may be some truth to that: If the allegations against and admissions by Abramoff are to be believed, he bought off Republican Rep. Bob Ney using his clients' money as well as his own. But if that's the argument GOP spinners want to make -- that money from Abramoff's associates and clients is just as dirty as money from Abramoff himself -- then somebody had better tell the White House and the spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. As the Associated Press is reporting, Abramoff raised at least $100,000 for Bush-Cheney '04, but the campaign is giving up only $6,000 of it -- money contributed by Abramoff, his wife and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan.

What about the rest of the money -- somewhere around $100,000 that Abramoff raised for the Bush-Cheney campaign but didn't contribute himself? "At this point, there is nothing to indicate that contributions from those individual donors represents anything other than enthusiastic support for the BC-04 reelection campaign," says Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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