Between the sheets in the Abramoff scandel
Italia Federici, the founder of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA), is the latest target of investigation in the ongoing saga of Jack Abramoff (whose first name might as well be Disgraced Lobbyist), according to recent press reports.
Federici, who at the time was dating the coal lobbyist turned Interior Department official J. Steven Griles, served as Abramoff’s “in” at the Interior Department, according to the Justice Department. According to a letter the DOJ sent to her in January urging her to get a lawyer quick, there is “substantial evidence” linking her to criminal activity in the Abramoff scandal.
The charge is that Federici used the tax-exempt CREA to lobby for Abramoff’s clients, who pumped a cool half million bucks into the organization. In addition to dating the then-No. 2 guy at Interior, Federici co-founded CREA with Gale Norton — Bush’s former Secretary of the Interior, no less. In return for the cash, Federici made sure Interior took care of his clients.
According to the letter filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Federici is charged with violating five statutes: conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax evasion, impeding the Internal Revenue Service, and obstructing proceedings and making false statements before the Senate.
Griles, an old environmental foe whose ties to his old mining and energy chums raised plenty of ethical questions during his tenure at Interior, pled guilty last month to lying to Congress about his relationship with both Abramoff and Federici.
More recently, Griles and his new ladyfriend Sue Ellen Wooldridge (who recently resigned as head of the Justice Department’s environmental section) bought a $1 million beach house with the head lobbyist for ConocoPhillips, shortly before Wooldridge approved easing anti-pollution requirements imposed on said oil behemoth.
I need to go take a shower after just blogging about all that oily, incesty business.