Monday, May 23, 2005

Norquist Watch

At long last, the press is starting to take a closer look at the disgusting figure of Grover "Barf Bag" Norquist, a man in large part responsible for the fiscal disasters afflicting not only the federal government, but state and local governments as well. Maybe this time enough dirt will stick to bring this creature down for good:

In Republican Washington, Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist worked all the angles.

One was a $750-an-hour lobbyist, the other an antitax activist, and they helped drive the Republican takeover of the capital and cement the party's power. Both had a close ally in the House majority leader, Tom DeLay. And they shared a conservative ideology and a friendship going back to their days in college.

Now, with widening Congressional and criminal inquiries in the capital into Mr. Abramoff's dealings, they are sharing trouble, too.

While Mr. Abramoff has been under scrutiny for more than a year, Mr. Norquist has attracted unwelcome attention in recent weeks. A Congressional committee investigating whether Mr. Abramoff defrauded Indian tribes has subpoenaed records from Mr. Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform, after he refused for six months to turn them over voluntarily.

The Justice Department is reviewing records of an advocacy group Mr. Norquist started with Gale A. Norton, now secretary of the interior, after reports that Mr. Abramoff instructed Indian tribes to give it $250,000. And Mr. Norquist's name appears over and over in newly disclosed documents outlining Mr. Abramoff's work in the Northern Mariana Islands, an American protectorate in the Pacific, which Democrats are agitating to investigate.

In interviews, Mr. Norquist dismissed any suggestion of wrongdoing on his part and said that the only reason he is "getting dragged into this" is because Senator John McCain, the head of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which is investigating Mr. Abramoff, holds a grudge against Mr. Norquist for campaigning for President Bush in the 2000 Republican primaries.

"McCain hates me," he said.

That's 'cause John McCain is smart. Check it out, and hope to see more following along. Norquist strikes me as the sort whose life could not stand a great deal of scrutiny.

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