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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Jack Abramoff's prescription for cleaning up Washington



Lucy Morgan's column:

TALLAHASSEE - Who better to suggest reform among the lobbyists and lawmakers around us than a lobbyist who just got out of federal prison?

That honor goes to Jack Abramoff, the former Greenberg Traurig lobbyist who made headlines over the last few years for his exploits with members of Congress and a number of Indian tribes that were out to protect their gambling operations.

Abramoff has several connections to Florida:

He worked for Greenberg Traurig, one of the state's best known law firms with offices in Miami, Tallahassee, Tampa, Washington and lots of other places. Abramoff writes that he knew Greenberg Traurig was going to be the right place for him when Fred Baggett, the Tallahassee lobbyist who is director of government affairs for the law firm, explained how they operated.

"At our firm, we believe it's better to seek forgiveness than ask for permission,'' Abramoff quoted Baggett. "To me, that meant, 'Act now and we'll figure out the consequences later.' Finally I had found a firm that thought just like me.''

Asked about the quote recently, Baggett said he doesn't recall the comment. "That was 12 years ago and I'm an old man, my memory doesn't hold like it used to,'' Baggett added. "And what I've got to say about him, you couldn't print.'' (full column here)

[Last modified: Sunday, January 22, 2012 7:42pm]


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