WASHINGTON - January 3 - The following was released today by Public Campaign Action Fund:
Today, disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, tax evasion, and mail fraud. Here is the statement of David Donnelly, national campaigns director of Public Campaign Action Fund:
"Today Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to giving away money, meals, and trips to public officials with the intent of getting political paybacks and to enrich himself and his colleagues.
"Abramoff is guilty of bribing our elected officials, plain and simple.
"The tentacles of this investigation go off in every direction. Abramoff lavished gifts and campaign contributions on Tom DeLay and Bob Ney. Former staff members for each of these congressmen are also implicated. DeLay's former chief of staff Tony Rudy is 'staffer A' and Ney's former chief of staff Neil Volz is 'staffer B.'"
"As many as 20 lawmakers and congressional staff members are under investigation.
"Our corrupting system of money in politics, in which politicians rely on sleazy characters like Jack Abramoff to fund their campaigns and pay for their lavish lifestyles has led to this travesty. If 2006 has started off with a bright light on corruption in politics, let it lead to an election later this year that throws out corrupt politicians and ushers in an era of accountability.
"We need comprehensive campaign finance reform that puts the power back where it belongs, with voters, not with crooks like Jack Abramoff."