And the circle grows ever tighter.
Most of us have by now seen, as first broken here on Fired Up and reported today by the Post-Dispatch, the sordid tale of former Roy Blunt aide Gregg Hartley's $50,000 "consulting" contract with the Missouri Association of Realtors.
Hartley, a longtime Blunt family friend, was uniquely positioned to benefit from what can only be described as near-extortative measures, employed with the help of the Blunt Administration, through which he was compensated in return for the promise that a measure favored by the Realtors would not be vetoed, despite the recommendation of the Bush Administration's Department of Justice.
So, where does someone like Hartley learn slick and shady maneuvers like the one he pulled with the Realtors' legislation? We can't be certain, but a March 2004 story in the Capitol Hill newspaper Rollcall gives us a pretty good hint.
Abramoff Lands Consulting Gig at Cassidy
March 24, 2004 By Brody Mullins,
Roll Call Staff
Embattled Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff landed a consulting job Tuesday with powerhouse Washington lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates in a deal that could help both sides weather troubled times....
Abramoff was forced to resign from his lobbying post with Greenberg Traurig LLC earlier this month and now stands at the center of a Senate investigation into the exorbitant lobbying fees he charged a string of American Indian tribes....
A longtime confidant of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and the GOP leadership, Abramoff was brought into Cassidy by Gregg Hartley, a former top aide to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
From the content of the Rollcall story, it appears as though longtime Blunt family friend not only learned lobbyist strongarm tactics at the knee of the master, Jack Abramoff, but was also instrumental in making sure future felon Abramoff had a soft place to land, even after it was clear his m.o. was far from on the up-and-up.
To hear the Blunt apologists tell it, Hartley was just brought on just because he "knows the ins and outs of the business", not because he's the legislative version of Sammy "the Bull" Gravano. But, as the old saw goes, "lay down with dogs, wake up with fleas". And Hartley's been laying down for a while now with the mangiest dog on K Street.