News & Politics

Grassley Says He Didn’t Act in Tyco’s Behalf; the Author Replies

Read Senator Chuck Grassley's letter in response to The Washingtonian's January story on Jack Abramoff, "The Other Jack." Then read author Kim Eisler's response.

Your readers were poorly served by Kim Isaac Eisler’s failure to validate claims made by Jack Abramoff and included in his January feature, “The Other Jack.” It’s well documented that I asked the Interior Department to resolve a tribal dispute that had left casino workers jobless, without taking the side of either tribal faction.

Jack Abramoff’s unchecked assertion that I took “Tyco out of the tax bill” is also flat wrong. In fact, the legislation that I authored in 2002 and got passed in the Senate in 2003 and 2004 reached back to 1997, the year of Tyco’s combination with a Bermuda-based company. My legislation would have applied to Tyco, but members of the House of Representatives refused to accept it in conference in 2003, and in 2004 at a public meeting of conferees, they rejected the part of my legislation that would have applied to Tyco. It’s irresponsible for The Washingtonian to print claims like the one used by Eisler without any other reporting.

Senator Chuck Grassley
Republican of Iowa
Washington, DC

Author’s reply: Senator Grassley has said repeatedly that he did not know or remember Jack Abramoff. My article was intended to reflect the mindset of Mr. Abramoff and not to get into the details of a casino-related Iowa tribal dispute in which Mr. Grassley’s actions benefited Abramoff’s clients at the expense of a rival faction. According to reporter John Byrne, who researched the subject and wrote about on it on his Web site, nearly everyone agrees that Grassley’s actions benefited the Bear Council faction Abramoff represented. Nor was it my intent to delve into the more than $62,000 he or his Hawkeye PAC received from Abramoff or his partners, or his acknowledged visit to Abramoff’s law firm in Miami, or the letters he wrote to Interior secretary Gale Norton on behalf of an Abramoff client in Louisiana.

Abramoff’s point in the e-mail that I quoted was simply that there are a lot of people in Washington from whom he received contributions and with whom he worked who now claim not to have known him.

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