Signatures, It Ain’t

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June 22, 2010 3:04 p.m.

Recently released Jack Abramoff gets a new gig running a kosher pizzeria in Baltimore.

Aficionados will remember that before the fall, in addition to being the most flashy and one of the most powerful lobbyists in DC, Abramoff was the owner of the uber-schmancy DC restaurant Signatures.It’s actually sort of funny to me to think of Jack as being out I’ve been on the story for so long. Not only is the investigation now official and he’s been indicted but he’s convicted, imprisoned and he’s already out and to the halfway house. There are even a couple of Jack movies.

TPMMuckraker was launched to cover the corruption scandals of the second half of the last decade. And there were so many that it was hard to keep track of them all. It really required a whole site to do it justice. But Abramoff was the first among equals. I actually remember pretty clearly that I’d been on the Cunningham case really hard for months. And I’d heard rumblings about Abramoff. But I really hadn’t focused in on it. And I didn’t really understand what it was about. Then one day I was on Amtrak coming back from New York. And I ran into a guy I know in DC politics sitting at a seat adjacent to mine. We got to talking. And he basically walked me through the whole thing — maybe a 20 or 25 minute conversation, maybe even less. But by the end of it the whole thing started to come into focus for me and I could see all the moving parts. By the time the train rolled into DC I was trying to find out what few more facts I could as we lined up to walk off the train. I went back to my little apartment, opened my laptop and started hunting.

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