What they haven't been able to show, though, is that a single one of these clients gave to any Democrat at the direction of Abramoff.
All of the clients in question are Indian tribes, who have a history of donating primarily to Democrats over the past half-century. That's mainly because Democrats have a history of being sensitive to tribal issues, particularly treaty rights and funding issues. Meanwhile, Republicans -- embodied by that old Indian fighter Slade Gorton -- were largely seen as the enemy.
Indeed, it's evident that the intent of Abramoff's involvement with the tribes was to find ways of siphoning off much of their new wealth into the coffers of Republicans (see esp. Conrad Burns) who had a history of being shunned by the tribes. As we now know, the actual purpose was to rip the tribes off by getting their money in exchange for a few votes.
Meanwhile, Democrats were still the recipients of the tribes' financial support, as they always had been. And they were still voting in defense of tribal interests, as they always had.
But there is no evidence extant to indicate that any of these tribes donated to Democrats because Abramoff suggested it. His whole purpose, in fact, was to try to divert the tribes' money away from Democrats.
It's no wonder Republicans are scrambling to find someone else to tar in the scanddal, since it reflects so poorly on their party. Among the other diversionary tactics has been to claim that it's the Indians' fault for having so much money to spread around.
Maybe, as a reality check, all of these media talkers should remember that Jack Abramoff's explicit ideology revolves around "defunding the left" and eviscerating the Democratic Party. To suggest that his K Street activities were anything less than fully devoted to this agenda is to pretend that 800-pound gorilla is not hanging about on your furniture.
Remember the credo taught by Abramoff and Grover Norquist when they were still in College Republicans:
- Abramoff wrote in the 1983 annual report: "It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the Left. Our job is to remove them from power permanently." The group's recruits were required to memorize a speech that included the lines: "Democrats are the enemy. Wade into them! Spill their blood!"
Jack Abramoff and the K Street Project were always about creating a one-party state. That was at the heart of its corruption as well.
This is not a hard reality to comprehend or explain.
So what kind of journalists are people like Katie Couric and Tim Russert, exactly, that they either do not know this or, worse yet, are willfully refusing to make this reality clear to the public?
UPDATE: Reader Hanna in comments points out that RonK at Next Hurrah has documented that not only did Abramoff direct money to Democrats, and neither did they lessen their donations to Democrats. The larger point -- that the K Street Project's goals were to defund Democrats and direct funding to Republicans -- stands.