Appearing on Hardball to discuss the Jack Abramoff scandal, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough failed to disclose that he received $1,000 from Jack Abramoff and other contributions from Abramoff's firms.
In a discussion on the January 5 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews about Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff's plea agreement, MSNBC host and former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL) stated only that he "remembered Abramoff's name" but failed to disclose a $1,000 campaign contribution he received from the lobbyist in 1997. In addition to Abramoff's individual donation, Scarborough also received four contributions totaling $2,000 from the political action committee of Abramoff's former lobbying firm, Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP* (see here, here, and here), as well as $500 from Greenberg Traurig LLP, another firm where Abramoff was a lobbyist, in 2001.
Later in the broadcast, Scarborough decried politicians who are "bought by lobbyists." "I always ... told people if they supported me, gave me money, you know, they couldn't expect anything," he said. He went on to add, "And I'll tell you what: Lobbyists figure that out also. They figure out who they can buy, they figure out which guys come from Middle America that are just excited to be there and go golfing in Scotland. And they figure out which ones are kind of cranky and obstinate who they can't trust." When Matthews replied: "Like you," Scarborough added: "Yeah, and I'll tell you what, being cranky in the long run always wins votes. Instead of being bought by lobbyists."
From the January 5 edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Joe, let me ask you, as you watch this from the perspective of former membership in the Congress, and you see all these members now giving back money andobviously getting a little nervous about this guy Abramoff, how does he fit into the picture you recall from the Hill?
SCARBOROUGH: You know, it's funny, I remember Abramoff's name, I remember certainly that he was attached to DeLay's office especially but, you know, there were all always guys that would be coming in talking about Indian casinos.
We don't have Indian casinos in northwest Florida. I could never really figure out what that was all about. Now I am starting to figure out what it's about.
MATTHEWS: What always amazes me is how politicians stay bought. I mean, if somebody gave you money from the cigarette industry, somebody told me, "You'd have to vote with them, you probably would, even though if you hated the industry." I always thought you could, like, remember the old line from California, Jesse Unruh, "If you can't take their money and their booze and their women and vote against them in the morning, you don't belong here?" What happened to that spirit?
SCARBOROUGH: Well you know what, actually, that, that spirit is still there. I mean, the old bulls still say that on the Hill. I always said it too, always told people if they supported me, gave me money, you know, they couldn't expect anything.
And I'll tell you what, lobbyists figure that out also. They figure out who they can buy, they figure out which guys come from Middle America that are just excited to be there and go golfing in Scotland. And they figure out which ones are kind of cranky and obstinate who they can't trust.
MATTHEWS: Like you.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, and I'll tell you what, being cranky in the long run always wins votes. Instead of being bought by lobbyists.
* As listed on Federal Election Commission disclosure forms. Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP is now known as Preston Gates Ellis LLP.