The Indian-casino scandal has torn the veil off the Republican Party's conservative power base, revealing parts of the Washington lobbying community and GOP establishment where greed, arrogance, and corruption seem to have run amok.
At the center of this drama is the larger-than-life super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, onetime B-movie producer, with deep ties to Republican heavyweights like the embattled Republican power broker Tom DeLay, Congressman Bob Ney, former head of the Christian Coalition Ralph Reed, influential anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, and others with links to the Bush administration. Abramoff, working with public relations whiz Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay aid, bilked several Indian tribes of tens of millions of dollars in fees and bought influence in Congress. The federal corruption probe into Abramoff's lobbying has already produced indictments and seperate guilty pleas by Abramoff and Scanlon to charges that they conspired to bribe public officials and defrauded four Indian tribes. More charges are expected to follow in a scandal that has tarred many powerful Washington insiders, and which the New York Times has called "potentially one of the most explosive in Congressional history."
The scandal is front-page news and will continue to be as the midterm election campaigns of 2006 heat up. But Stone digs behind the headlines to capture fully a riveting tale of our time: an inside-Washington drama driven by outsized personalities and the toxic mix of money and power.