Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Papers: Lobbyist, Partner Bilked Tribes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jack Abramoff and a lobbying partner used tax-exempt groups and phony invoices to bilk tribal clients out of millions of dollars, using a scheme they called ''gimme five'' to divert proceeds to themselves and their pet causes, newly released documents show.

At a hearing Wednesday on Abramoff's activities, Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman John McCain urged the Justice Department to take a close look at Abramoff's tribal billings and his movement of the money, suggesting the lobbyist may have committed mail and wire fraud.

''Today's hearing is about more than contempt, even more than greed. It is simply and sadly a tale of betrayal,'' said McCain, R-Ariz.

Correspondence between Abramoff and others, released by the committee, outlines a plan Abramoff and lobbying partner Michael Scanlon referred to as ''gimme five'' and used to maximize tribal payments while skimming off a share of the proceeds for themselves.