Jack Abramoff, or Casino Jack, or the man once referred to as “America’s most notorious lobbyist” has expressed his support for congressional term limits in a new video posted to YouTube titled “Congress will never be fixed without term limits” on Monday.
The video posted by US Term Limits in connection with TermLimitsConvention.com features Casino Jack sharing his thoughts on how he used to buy politicians.
“When I was a lobbyist, I hated the idea that a congressman who I had bought with years of contributions would decide to retire,” Abramoff says. “That meant I had to start all over again with a new member, losing all the control I had bought with years of checks.”
The former Republican lobbyist and convicted felon pled guilty in 2006 to charges of tax evasion, mail fraud and conspiracy in connection with a deal with one of his former business partners, Adam Kidan as reported by ICTMN in 2014. According to a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs investigative report titled “Gimme Five” Abramoff, along with Michael Scanlon, another former partner, stole more than $82 million from six tribes between 2001 and 2003.
Abramoff’s comments about term limits highlight the disruption within relationships of lobbyists and long-serving incumbents.
“Career politicians often smear term limits by claiming lobbyists are for it,” said U.S. Term Limits President Philip Blumel in a news release about the video. “But the opposite is true. Whenever lobbyists get involved in a term limits campaign, all of their money goes to the side trying to prevent, weaken or abolish term limits. That’s why we’re glad Jack Abramoff is speaking out.”
Abramoff closes the video warning, “if you want to see pigs screeching at the trough, tell them they can’t stay there forever. There’s no trough as dangerous as the one in Washington.”
Tom Rodgers, the Abramoff whistleblower and Blackfeet Native American and voting rights activist wrote in an e-mail to ICTMN his thoughts on the U.S. Term Limits video. “Our modern day Elmer Gantry, played by Jack Abramoff, in his starring role of good government evangelist seeks to save our souls from long serving congressman. The central problem of modern day politics is not time on the job it is the corrupting influence of money and gerrymandered congressional districts. Those are the central problems. Remember what Lou Mannheim said to Bud Fox in the movie ‘Wall Street’… the main thing about money, Bud (Jack) is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.”
The release also notes that Abramoff volunteered his opinions and was not compensated by U.S. Term Limits. Term Limits Convention is a campaign launched in January that requires 34 state legislatures to pass bills calling for term limits on Congress, before a convention can be called to propose a congressional term limits amendment. Florida was the first state to pass the resolution but several others are considering it the release states.