Issa hammers Cummings for using Abramoff as distraction from ‘Fast and Furious’

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Top House oversight committee Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings wants to attack former lobbyist Jack Abramoff — again — in a Congressional hearing.

While admitting Abramoff successfully completed his “three-and-a-half year sentence” in prison, and pointing out that the House oversight committee has, for years, “worked in a bipartisan manner to investigate the illegal activities of Mr. Abramoff and his associates, as well as the implications of his actions on the transparent and effective operation of our government,” Cummings wants to again dredge up the matter of the famously corrupt lobbyist.

Cummings claims it’s because the oversight committee didn’t previously obtain Abramoff’s testimony during previous investigations. He also questions Abramoff’s decision to write a book about his history and conduct “press interviews about the scope of his corruption.”

“Mr. Abramoff claims that he is coming forward now because he is ‘ashamed’ of his actions and ‘now I’m trying to do something, in recompense’” Cummings wrote to Issa on Thursday in a letter requesting a hearing. “Although I do not necessarily credit his rationale, I do believe it would be worthwhile to obtain Mr. Abramoff s testimony in order to complete our examination into the extent of his influence over White House and Executive Branch officials … and to determine whether additional reforms may be necessary.”

Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican, isn’t buying Cummings’ argument. Issa’s spokesman says this looks like a move a to divert attention away from the committee’s work on Operation Fast and Furious by assailing a conservative lobbyist who has already been held legally accountable for his misdeeds.

“The committee has no intention of allowing itself to be a forum for Jack Abramoff to sell his book,” Issa spokesman Frederick Hill told The Daily Caller. “It’s thoroughly shameless that Ranking Member Cummings can make such a suggestion after apologizing to Justice Department officials for the scrutiny they’re facing on a contemporary failure of government like Operation Fast and Furious.”

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