ABRAMOFF AND SUDAN.
And the hits just keep on coming. In the L.A. Times today, Tom Hamburger and Ken Silverstein reveal that Jack Abramoff approached the government of Sudan to offer his, er, services. While the rest of the world worried about al Qaeda, Abramoff took the ambassador of a country that once harbored bin Laden to a Redskins game in 2001 to make his pitch.
According to the lobbyist's former associate, Abramoff sat with the ambassador in the skybox and described an elaborate and costly plan to blunt the effect of pressure from Christian groups with money and travel, two of the methods Abramoff frequently deployed in his Washington lobbying campaigns.
He said some of the money would be sent to the Christian Coalition and some would be spent encouraging Christian leaders to visit Sudan and talk with the government. Other money would be spent on a grass-roots campaign to promote a better image of the country in the United States.
The former associate said Abramoff repeatedly told the ambassador that he would arrange for his friend Reed to push the idea with Christian groups.
There was a follow-up discussion with the former associate when the Sudanese foreign minister came to Washington months later. The Cabinet minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail, met with Abramoff's former associate at the Sudanese Embassy. Ismail seemed interested in Abramoff's services, the former associate said, but asked for guaranteed results, which Abramoff could not provide. The proposed deal went no further.
--Mark Leon Goldberg