Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Racket

Anyone been paying attention to the legal situation involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff? It is actually big news because it may bring to light the corruption of several high-profile politicians. But I don't know if many are really watching because his activities are thought to be so complicated.

What he did is not a whole lot different than running a racket, essentially an operation in which people are persuaded to pay big money because they are fearful that if they don't pay it, bad things will happen. In this case-- at the cost of being overly simplistic-- Abramoff convinced Native American tribes that they could get cool government things (to keep them from having those bad things happen) if they gave him a lot of money, and he in turn paid Congresspersons to get those cool things, who took the money (sometimes in the form of "perks") because they wanted their piece of the action. Abramoff skimmed his cut off the top, elaborately lied about it, and will now be going to prison.

Anyway, to get a fuller picture of exactly what the racketeer does, check out my newest home page piece at my website The Catholicist Nation.