Sunday, January 29, 2006

Dean inadvertently throws Reid under the bus

From NewsMax:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Sunday that Democrats who took money from Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff and who did something on behalf of those tribes have "a big problem."

Dean made the statement apparently unaware that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has reportedly done exactly that.

Under questioning by "Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace, Dean claimed that Democrats did no favors for Abramoff's Indian tribe clients:

"Nobody got anything out of the Democrats from Jack Abramoff," the top Democrat insisted. "No Democrat delivered anything and there's no accusation and no investigation that any Democrat ever delivered anything to Jack Abramoff. And that's not true of the Republicans."

But Wallace countered: "So if we find that there were some Democrats who wrote letters on behalf of some of the Indian tribes that Abramoff represented, then what do you say, sir?"

Dean's response: "That's a big problem. And those Democrats are in trouble. And they should be in trouble."

In November 2005 the Associated Press reported that Senate Minority Leader Reid had accepted tens of thousands of dollars from an Abramoff client, the Coushatta Indian tribe, after interceding with Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton over a casino dispute with a rival tribe.

Reid "sent a letter to Norton on March 5, 2002," the AP said. "The next day, the Coushattas issued a $5,000 check to Reid's tax-exempt political group, the Searchlight Leadership Fund. A second tribe represented by Abramoff sent an additional $5,000 to Reid's group. Reid ultimately received more than $66,000 in Abramoff-related donations between 2001 and 2004."
Reid's not the only Democrat who has been the beneficiary of Abramoff's largesse (usually funneled through Abramoff's clients), and I won't bore you with details that have already been covered across the blogosphere (since the MSM generally avoids bringing up Dem recipients).

I will say, though, that once Howie's words get used against other Dems, his already shaky tenure as DNC chief just got more uncertain. Dean's leadership has been as effective as a one-legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen pond, so I hope these words don't hurt his chances at remaining DNC top dawg. After all, he's the right's best ally in the political war against the left.