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In the Skybox and on K St.: More Blunt-Abramoff Connections

While we already knew that through the years Roy Blunt (R-K Street) had developed quite a friendly relationship with disgraced GOP lobbyist-turned-con-man Jack Abramoff, the ties between the two men only become more pronounced as new information comes to light. Each new revelation, it seems, serves to underscore the pervasiveness of the hand-in-glove bond between Blunt's Republican leadership and Washington's consummate government affairs shakedown artist.

Today for instance, via documents uncovered by Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, we find that as far back as 2000 Abramoff was plying Roy Blunt's staff with tickets to events in his leased luxury skybox at Washington DC's MCI Center Arena.

Specifically, one document of many sure to be unearthed from the files of lobby-law firm Preston Gates indicates that Blunt staffer Chrissy Blasinsky was the recipient of a ticket in a skybox rented by Jack Abramoff for "WWF Raw is War" in October of 2000.

And while the question of whether a Congressman with integrity would condone attendance by his staff at wrestling matches in the luxury suites of shady corporate money-grubbers remains open, there is evidence to suggest that in this instance the behavior is part of an even larger pattern.

After all, the acceptance by a Congressional staffer of an event ticket from Abramoff on one occasion (that we know of), while troubling, is not damning. But when one digs a little deeper, she finds that sometimes a staffer is not just a staffer. Here, we see that in 2000 Chrissy Blasinsky represented not just an underpaid Capitol staff member, but a living example of how the K Street Project builds a machine-like government-industrial complex through the revolving door provision of legislative favors in exchange for lucrative private sector jobs for those who do them.

Through the case of Chrissy Blasinsky, we see that a few years work in Congressman Blunt's office (along with some feigned interest in the choreographed grappling of huge men in tights) quickly gets a young staffer a bump up into the private sector world. Blasinsky parlayed her post in Blunt's office into a job a Director of Public Affairs for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, an outfit which happens to be a key partner in the Americans for Tax Reform-driven K Street Project.

From the Beer Wholesalers, it's just a hop, skip, and jump to a gig as Communications Director for the National Association of Convenience Stores, which --as a client of former Delay aide Ed Buckham's Alexander Strategy Group, first PAC to double-max to Tom Delay's re-election campaign in 2005, and whose lobbyists were part of Delay's 2000 Weekend in Vegas extravaganza-- is about as deep in the bowels of the K Street Project's cabal of corruption as any organization could possibly get.

Turns out that, at the end of the day, a ticket to a campy wrestling event looks an awful lot like a ticket to a nice career and trade-association expense account earned on the backs of unsuspecting taxpayers who foot the bill for the corporate welfare that is inevitably yielded by these close private-public, lobbyist-patron relationships. Chrissy Blasinsky is not to blame, she is but one example of a system that --with the help of Roy Blunt-- has become too corrupt, too captured to work on behalf of regular Americans.

We should all keep our eyes open for whatever Josh Marshall digs up next.



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