Jewish Religious Right Agency Shuts Down in Abramoff Scandal
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:02:21 AM EST
Toward Tradition, one of the leading organizations of the Jewish element of the religious right is going out of business due to it's involvement in the still unfolding Abramoff scandal. Abramoff had been as much a part of the life of the organization as the cause of its demise. He served on the Toward Tradition board until 2004 and served two terms as chairman.

It turns out that Senate investigators have shown how Abramoff used Toward Tradition head Daniel Lapin as a sock puppet for his corporate clients, notably the Channel One Network that pipes a little "news" and a whole lot of commercials into American public school classrooms.

The Washington Post reports that a just released Senate investigative report  notes that five non-profit organizations laundered money on behalf of Abramoff and his clients, and probably violated their non-profit tax status as well.
The report includes previously unreleased e-mails between the now-disgraced lobbyist and officers of the nonprofit groups, showing that Abramoff routed money from his clients to the groups. In exchange the groups, among other things, produced ostensibly independent newspaper op-ed columns or press releases that favored the clients' positions.

Officers of the groups "were generally available to carry out Mr. Abramoff's requests for help with his clients in exchange for cash payments," said the report, issued by the Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee after a one-year investigation.

Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy and is cooperating with federal investigators in the ongoing influence-peddling probe that has resulted in seven guilty pleas and convictions.

The report states that the groups probably violated their tax-exempt status "by laundering payments and then disbursing funds at Mr. Abramoff's direction; taking payments in exchange or writing newspaper columns or press releases that put Mr. Abramoff's clients in a favorable light; introducing Mr. Abramoff's clients to government officials in exchange for payment; and agreeing to act as a front organization for congressional trips paid for by Mr. Abramoff's clients."

The groups are Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform; the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, which was co-founded by Norquist and Gale Norton before she became Secretary of the Interior; Citizens Against Government Waste; the National Center for Public Policy Research, which was a spinoff of the Heritage Foundation; and Toward Tradition, a religious group founded by Abramoff friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin.

Lapin, whose group was at the center of some of the most infamous lobbying schemes with Abramoff, told the committee that he was shutting down the Seattle-based nonprofit because of negative news coverage related to Abramoff.

The report itself is rich with details. The report shows via email traffic how Abramoff could count on Lapin to write columns that would cast his clients in a favorable light. The report also highlights Abramoff's intention to use Lapin to gain a meeting with James Dobson for Jeff Ballabon of the Channel One Network.  On another occasion,  Ballabon wrote to Abramoff and Lapin about the draft of a proposed newspaper column that would go out under Lapin's name attacking critics of Channel One's controversial in-classroom commercial television network.

The op-ed was titled: "Is it immoral to make an honest living?  Your children think so."  According to the report, it was syndicated by Knight-Ridder newspapers, on April 15, 1999.

In email correpsondence about the article, Ballabon decribed the company's critics as "radical, anti-business operators and academics" and "outside commie agitators."  Ballabon's idea of "commies" included the PTA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Federation of Teachers.  The concerns being expressed by groups like these at the time were that the company sold school systems on child appropriate news they provide, along with free equipment to view it on -- but that they really deliver mostly commercials and what little news there is is poorly done. They thought that maybe allowing the classroom to be hijacked by commercial interests wasn't such a good idea.

Abramoff worked at the time for the Seattle-based law firm, Preston Gates. The Lapin op-ed was evidently part of a more far-reaching political and PR campaign that sought to head off hearings on the matter by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL).  Russ Baker, wrote in 2001 in The American Prospect about the effort:

Channel One dumped almost $1 million into a lobbying effort led by former Christian Coalition Director Ralph Reed and the powerful law firm of Preston, Gates, and Ellis--and effectively kept a lid on further action or hearings. Last spring a Shelby-sponsored sense-of-the-Senate resolution opposing commercialization of the schools was blocked by Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas and heavy lobbying by Reed and former New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato. The company has other means of winning support: Channel One's Ballabon insisted on faxing me a mound of positive letters; several from students mentioned free trips to Channel One's Los Angeles production studios.
 

It certainly is stirring the "values" the likes of Channel One's Jeff Ballabon, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed and Daniel Lapin seek to bring to children in America's classrooms.

I wonder if Channel One News has been reporting on the Abramoff scandal, and the role of its top executives in running bought and paid for copy on a national news wire? I am sure America's school kids would find it a valuable lesson in the ethics of modern journalism and politics -- and the values of the religious right.




Display:
to the phrase, "values voters," doesn't it?

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:34:30 AM EST

I wonder if Toward Tradition will be or has been destroying documents. A timely legal action might not be too late to prevent that - orgs like that can't just disappear into the wind instantaneously. The Minority Staff Report states that more information may be needed to prove up legal violations. A subpoena at a minimum would seem needed at once.

I wonder what the Republicans on the Committee will say about this report. The committee is 11-9 Republican, but Grassley and Snowe are two of them. Assuming they wont jump over, a private action would seem the only alternative. Time is of the essence. I bet shredders are humming as we speak.

by Splash on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:57:27 AM EST



WWW Talk To Action


Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)
Religious Freedom is Not Just for Christian Conservatives
Religious freedom is one of the central issues of our time. Arguably, it a central issue in any time, and every time, at least......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Dallas and its Historic Connection to the Religious Right
There has been a recent rash of demonstrations outside of the famous First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.  The current pastor appears to be......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Fr. Frank Pavone Claims the 2016 Coughie Award!
Yes, folks it's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As always, the competition was fierce. But this year, the gold......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
Christmas Broadcasting Traditions
It is time to once again note the preposterous-but-malevolent claims that there is a War on Christmas. The annual revival of this repulsive anti-Semitic......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Steve Bannon: Alt-Right Anti-Catholic or Political Opportunist?
In March 2016 Trump campaign strategist and CEO Steve Bannon made a comment that could be construed as being blatantly anti-Catholic. He accused the......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
How The Election of Trump Made My Life Easier
I might be one of a select few who didn't vote for Donald but would have to say Trump's election made my life easier...I......
By wilkyjr (10 comments)
The Bakke Plot To "Infiltrate" Secular Institutions
Back in 2012-2014 I did a lot of writing and research on The Gathering, the yearly meeting of elite evangelical right philanthropists who collectively......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
The Term "Alt-Right" is All Right
There is a misguided effort underway to not use the term "alt-right."  The effort, currently led by the Center for American Progress, claims that......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
A refresher on dominionism will probably come in handy over the next little while. -- FC I am pleased to report that the task......
By Frederick Clarkson (10 comments)
The New Kochs: Anthology of DeVos Support, Funding of School Privatization and Religious Right
This post from 2-14 will be a helpful resource in the days ahead. -- FC Mother Jones' January/February issue includes an article titled "Meet......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech
This post about the long term strategy for privatizing the public schools takes on fresh importance in light of the nomination of Betsy DeVos......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Did God Engineer Trump's Win?
Political analysts have postulated a number of theories to explain the victory of Donald J. Trump in the presidential election: Hillary Clinton failed to......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)

Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (0 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (0 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (1 comment)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (11 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.