Most of the Jack Abramoff story we’ve heard has been tied to lobbying for Indian casino interests and garment manufacturers in US Pacific island protectorates. But there’s an overseas portfolio only starting to get attention. And along those lines, some details that could use some more attention…
Things started to go bad for Jack Abramoff in early 2004. He got fired or ‘resigned’ (take your pick) from Greenberg Traurig in March. And from there he went from high-voltage influence peddler to corruption coverboy in the Post, the Times and other news outlets.
But Abramoff did more than start readying his defense after he left Greenberg Traurig. He immediately signed up with Cassidy & Associates. And if you’re not familiar with them, Cassidy is one of the glitz names in the foregin lobbying business in Washington.
Then in July, he left Cassidy. Everybody put out gracious press releases. But you figure that by the summer Abramoff was even too hot to handle for them.
But he still wasn’t quite done. Upon leaving Cassidy Abramoff set up his own company, Middle Gate Ventures.
As near as I can figure there’s only one mention of the firm that ever appeared in the US press — a short piece in the Washington Post’s ‘Special Interests’ column on July 8th, 2004.
You can find other references to it Middle Gate with a google search. But they all seem to cite back to this little squib in the Post. And the Post said that Middle Gate would be Abramoff’s “vehicle for pursuing such business opportunities as energy projects, real estate development and motion picture production.”
Abramoff made pretty clear that his bridges were burned in the DC lobbying game. So what remained were his overseas contacts and opportunities.
I hear that pretty much immediately after setting up Middle Gate he was using the company to get deeply involved in some ‘energy projects’ on the west coast of Africa.
I’m trying to put together different pieces of this puzzle. But if you have any more pieces, I’d love to hear from you.