Washington “lobbyist” Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty yesterday to federal charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery, and tax evasion. Why does this matter to business and its lawyers?
— It isn’t because the recent outbreak of sleepless nights in the Capitol.
— It isn’t because there is the loud ka-ching of retainer checks being cashed by the White Collar Defense groups of major Washington, DC law firms.
— And it isn’t even because the Democrats are sitting back and letting the news media emphasize the connection to certain Republican legislators (some may disagree with this one).
For me, the reason Jack Abramoff matters for business is that he confirms the stereotype that “lobbying” is really about buying influence. And for the 99%+ of businesses that legally participate in the legislative process, this is terrible.
So the best thing business can hope for is that this investigation proceed quickly, and that those involved are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
It is also not lost on the public that many implicated in this matter are lawyers. Again, another day, another stereotype reinforced.
One thing is clear–the color of Mr. Abramoff’s hat.