Preston Gates & Abramoff

Disgraced lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff was employed by Preston, Gates and Ellis from 1994 to 2000, the ‘Gates’ of this large law firm being the father of Bill Gates of Microsoft. (He retired in 1999.)

While Abramoff was with Preston Gates, he “lobbied” for the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw Indians and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, two clients who had central focus in the investigations that eventually made him a convicted felon.

Abramoff was forced on Preston Gates in 1994 after Newt Gingrich swept to power and Rethuglican operatives told firms to either hire extreme conservatives or get cut out of D.C. completely. Sounds like extortion, doesn’t it? With a big honey pot tossed in.

He earned Preston Gates over 32 million in a three year period ending in 2000. The firm now says he was a loose cannon who apparently either quit or was fired. Their protestations that they were abused by a bad man seem a bit contrived to me. This is world class law firm, it can be assumed they had their eyes wide open. But even with all the money, they eventually could no longer stomach him.

In a now oft-cited quote — confirmed by a source who was at the firm at the time — the firm’s partner, Manny Rouvelas, told Abramoff he would end up “dead, disgraced or in jail.”

It should be noted that Preston Gates is a liberal law firm. William Gates Sr. has supported environmental causes and worked against repeal of the estate tax. Yet even they buckled under the “really brutal and meant to be brutal” onslaught of forced hiring under penalty of no business that Republicans rammed down the throats of law firms and lobbyists in 1994.

When [a Preston Gates] partner read news stories of the scandal, he would say to his wife, “Why are they always putting our firm’s name in there?”

“If you lay down with the pigs, they’ll call you a swine every time.” — Hunter Thompson.

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