Abramoff’s ‘charity’ began at home

The LA Times reams Abramoff today, detailing his sleazy “charities”, which were anything but that.

There was the time he laundered money through a religious group’s accounts to try to bribe a congressional aide. He diverted funds from a youth athletic foundation to bankroll a golf junket for a congressman and to bolster the bank account of his Washington restaurant. He used two other nonprofits to line his own pockets with millions of dollars defrauded from clients.
They include:

The Capital Athletic Foundation, created by Abramoff as a sports-oriented youth charity. He funded it with millions improperly diverted from his lobbying clients and treated it as his “personal piggy bank,” a lawmaker said, spending money on pet projects that had nothing to do with its stated purpose.

The American International Center, a bogus “international think tank” at a beach house near Rehoboth Beach, Del. Abramoff and Scanlon used the center to collect millions from their lobbying clients and then send it to their personal bank accounts.

Toward Tradition, a nonprofit in Mercer Island, Wash., that promotes “traditional Judeo Christian values” and was used to help Abramoff funnel an alleged $50,000 bribe of an aide to DeLay.

The National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, an obscure conservative organization that Abramoff used to defraud an Indian tribe and an offshore gaming alliance of at least $2 million for his and Scanlon’s personal enrichment.

The Capital Athletic Foundation was particularly noxious, as “more than $140,000 of the foundation’s funds, reports Newsweek, was used to purchase sniper scopes, night-vision binoculars, camouflage suits, thermal imagers and other material” to Israeli settlers in the occupied territories, settlements that were illegal under Israeli law. The LA Times had to know this, yet didn’t report it, marring this otherwise excellent piece of investigative reporting.