Friday, June 23, 2006

Report: Abramoff used Norquist to distribute funds, Anti-tax advocate acted as a buffer for lobbyist's activities

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In Jack Abramoff's world, prominent Washington tax-cut advocate Grover Norquist was a godsend.

Moving money from a casino-operating Indian tribe to Ralph Reed, the Christian Coalition founder and professed gambling opponent, was a problem. Lobbyist Abramoff turned to his longtime friend Norquist, apparently to provide a buffer for Reed.

The result, according to evidence gathered by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, was that Norquist's Americans for Tax Relief became a conduit for more than a million dollars from the Mississippi Choctaw to Reed's operation, while Norquist, a close White House ally, took a cut.

Without citing any specific group, the Senate panel found numerous instances of nonprofit organizations that appeared to be involved in activities unrelated to their mission as described to the Internal Revenue Service.

Thursday's 373-page Senate report on Abramoff's influence-peddling said some nonprofits channeled money from one entity to another in an effort to obscure the source of funds, the eventual use of funds and to evade tax liability....

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