SO. I've been waiting to find out who that spy equipment found in the customs area of the Guam airport was feeding to, and money was alocated for an inquiry, and I presume its being spent, but no answers have come out yet.
But meanwhile, the Guam branch of the Abramoff scandal is heating up. (Is it too novelistic to hope for that the unauthorized video and audio from customs was feeding to some firend of Abramoff's? Or would that be just too much fun?) Here are some stories that cry out for some kind of musical accompayment, and perhaps some snappy choreography.
- The Wall Street Journal: End of the Affair: Behind Unraveling Of DeLay's Team, A Jilted Fiancée.
The local press in Guam are really sinking their teeth into it.
In the fall of 1998, Mr. Abramoff wanted to help a Republican, Joe Ada, get elected as governor in Guam, even though he was trailing incumbent Gov. Carl Gutierrez badly in the polls.
Just after lunch on Oct. 26, 1998, Mr. Abramoff emailed Mr. Rudy: "We want to know if there is anyway to get Tom to call for an investigation of the misuse of federal funds on Guam by this governor," he wrote in a message reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Abramoff said he would draft a statement for Mr. DeLay and suggested that if Mr. Rudy could "issue a press release and letter requesting an Inspector General (I guess from Interior?) to investigate these matters, it should have a major impact on the election next week."
Within a few hours, Messrs. Rudy and Scanlon released a statement from Mr. DeLay and a letter to the Department of the Interior's inspector general calling for a federal investigation into the Democratic governor. "The allegations and materials I reviewed point to serious corruption" by the governor, Mr. DeLay said in the letter.
Despite their efforts, Mr. Ada lost the race, and the department didn't conduct an investigation. After leaving office, Mr. Gutierrez was tried on corruption charges but acquitted on all counts. Mr. DeLay's spokeswoman said he declined to comment. Mr. Rudy's lawyer didn't return phone calls.
- KUAM News: Article links Abramoff, co-defendant to '98 Guam election
KUAM News has also confirmed through sources in Washington, that a congressional inquiry is also underway into Scanlon's involvement on Guam when the Ada-Camacho team disputed the 1998 election results.
KUAM News attempted to obtain comment on the Wall Street Journal article from former governor Ada, however he is currently off-island. Spokesman for Governor Camacho Shawn Gumataotao also did not return calls for comment.
- Pacific News Daily: Abramoff tied to Guam election
Concerns about government of Guam payments to Abramoff -- about $400,000 for lobbying against a judicial bill -- have resurfaced in the wake of the lobbyist's recent guilty plea in a criminal influence-peddling case in Washington.
The court payments to Abramoff have become a part of national scrutiny over whether the earlier FBI investigation into the payments to Abramoff had cost Guam's former acting U.S. Attorney, Frederick Black, his job.
It was under Black's leadership that local court documents showing the payments to Abramoff were subpoenaed.
- KUAM News: Governor says Abramoff's link to Guam is tactic against him
KUAM News caught up with Governor Felix Camacho this morning for his reaction to the news about an article published in the Wall Street Journal linking high-powered lobbyist Jack Abramoff to the Ada-Camacho campaign of 1998. The governor says he's aware of the piece, "End of the Affair - Behind Unraveling of DeLay's Team, A Jilted Fiancee", but admits he hasn't read it yet. . . . "Very interesting," Camacho said in response. "I don't know of any involvement to the extent they are saying. I know that I won't tolerate any kind of interference from outside forces or influences, but Abramoff I met in the '98 election for the first time ever, as he was passing through on his way to Saipan. But as far influences over the campaign, I think that's debatable."
Camacho says he met with Abramoff once at the former powerhouse lobbyist's restaurant, Signatures, before he was inaugurated as governor in 2002. "I met with him once, and this was before I was inaugurated so when I took a trip to D.C. I did meet with him over lunch...he basically was interested more so, could I help a friend of his get a job. And I said absolutely not and that was the end of it," he recalled. "That's the first and last time I've seen or spoken to him as governor of the territory of Guam."
As far as Abramoff's former partner and Congressman Tom Delay's former press aide Michael Scanlon's efforts to assist the '98 Ada-Camacho team with a published Message and Media Strategy [part 1 & part 2], KUAM News showed the Governor a copy of the strategy that was formulated in May 1999 in preparation for a runoff election that never happened.
"I know that Scanlon was with Abramoff, he offered some advice on campaign strategy to the extent that he offered that was about it...again it goes back a ways. As to who wrote this, I'm not sure at this point. I'll have to go back and find out. Four-point plan? Perhaps he did," said Camacho. . . .
Camacho maintains he had no association or affiliation with Abramoff or any of his partners during the 1998 election or the 2002 election, when he ran for office with Lieutenant Governor Kaleo Moylan. "In 1998 I was, of course, a candidate for lieutenant governor with Joe Ada, and that's primarily it. I know that right now this is a campaign season and I have several opponents who will do anything they can to attack my integrity as governor, my campaign, and try to tie me in with Abramoff in anyway possible for political advantage," he maintained.
- KUAM News: E-mail details Abramoff's efforts to encourage congressional support for Ada-Camacho
KUAM News has obtained copies of several e-mail messages sent from super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff to Carl Taitano, the campaign adviser for the Joe Ada-Felix Camacho gubernatorial team. In the December 15, 1998 e-mail Abramoff writes to Taitano about his "non-stop" efforts with the Republican National Committee on getting a big endorsement with congressional members' signatures.
- KUAM News: Inside Scanlon's strategy for the Ada-Camacho campaign
So what exactly did the message and media strategy for the Ada-Camacho team in '99 include? Allegedly written by Michael Scanlon, at the time a press aide for Congressman Tom Delay, the document created a sense of urgency for the Republican team to launch the strategy using the approach "if it can be imagined, it can be done."
In Scanlon's opinion, centering the campaign on hope was not an easy sell, saying, "hope is an unclear, undefined and nebulous creature." In the list of proposals for a new product Scanlon suggested the Ada-Camacho team integrate a four-point plan with strategic points.
- KUAM News: Alleged strategy for Ada-Camacho campaign was to smear Gutierrez
- Pacific Daily News: Election questions linger
Former Guam Delegate Robert Underwood, who's running for governor for the second time after having lost to Camacho in the 2002 gubernatorial election, told the Pacific Daily News in January that he might have been a victim of an Abramoff effort in his 2002 election bid to influence who becomes governor of Guam. Underwood was off island yesterday, and when he called back from California for comment, the PDN missed his call.
Underwood has said direct mailers printed out of a stateside business owned by a lobbying client of Abramoff undermined his first run for governor. The direct mailers, sent to about 25,000 members of Guam's Filipino community, had painted Underwood as being allegedly biased against Filipinos, a charge Underwood has said is untrue.
Cunliffe says his client has historically been the subject of political attacks, but he doesn't believe current governor Camacho wasn't aware of Abramoff or Scanlon's involvement in the '98 election. "If you look back to '98 this was their strategy all along," postulated Cunliffe. "And if you look at the players, you had Tony Sanchez, who was the media guy for Ada-Camacho. He's also the guy who was at the court and tied in with the hiring of Abramoff for the court and an illegal expenditure of almost or more than $400,000 and Felix and Tony were best friends since high school, so if the two of them aren't working together I don't know who is."
And there are more. I'll need to continue this tomorrow.