In the course of muckraking, I get an unaccountable pleasure when the subject of one investigation reveals a hidden connection to the subject of another.
So you can imagine how pleased I was to learn that back in 1996, when Jeffrey Shockey was still on his first stint as a staffer with Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), he headed a pack of Republican staffers visiting the Northern Mariana Islands. The staffers were brought there, of course, by none other than Jack Abramoff.
It was a one week trip taken in December of that year, which must have been a nice time to go, given the gentle winter there. In an interview with the Marianas Variety (not available online) towards the end of the trip, Shockey, identified as the delegation’s spokesperson, said that the group had come over because they were “interested in the economy you got here.” And of the islands, infamous for their slave labor conditions, Shockey added, “We’re very positively impressed so far.”
So here’s my question – was this a relationship that blossomed? Or was Shockey just one of many staffers Abramoff was courting?