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Take It Back, Jack: the Abramoff Scandal Inspires a Flood of Charitable Giving

The widening Abramoff scandal has proven to be a boon for charitable causes everywhere. Politicians from both sides of the aisle are desperately trying to wash his stink off by donating at least some of the money he doled out to them to charity. President Bush hasto the American Heart Association -- perhaps in anticipation of the epidemic of politicians with chest pains should Abramoff start to sing. In all, some five dozen politicians have suddenly decided that Jack Abramoff's money is no longer acceptable. In Washington, this is what passes for scruples.
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The widening Abramoff scandal has proven to be a boon for charitable causes everywhere. Politicians from both sides of the aisle -- ol' Jack was definitely an equal-opportunity influence buyer -- are desperately trying to wash his stink off by donating at least some of the money he doled out to them to charity. President Bush has given 6,000 Abramoff-connected dollars to the American Heart Association -- perhaps in anticipation of the epidemic of politicians with chest pains should Abramoff start to sing.

No word on what the president plans to do with the rest of the well-over $100,000 Pioneer Abramoff raised for Bush's re-election run.

Others feeling the need to pass along their ill-gotten gains to charity -- and hopefully distance themselves from the scandal -- include Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Roy Blunt, Rick Santorum, Elizabeth Dole, and Hilary Clinton. In all, some five dozen politicians have suddenly decided that Jack Abramoff's money is no longer acceptable -- including those like Sam Brownback and Conrad Burns who saw the writing on the wall and gave back Jack's jack even before he pleaded guilty. Upstanding.

Among the charities benefiting from this sudden burst of what, at least in Washington, passes for scruples are the Salvation Army ($12,500 from Sen. Kit Bond), Wyoming tornado victims ($8,000 from Rep. Craig Thomas), Boys and Girls Club of Greater Fort Worth ($2,000 from Rep. Kay Granger), Great Southwest Council of the Boy Scouts of America ($1,000 from Rep. Heather Wilson), St. Jude's Hospital ($2,000 from Rep. John Sweeney), USO Operation Phone Home ($949 from Rep. Paul Ryan), and the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society ($2,000 from Sen. John Thune).

Read the complete list of those doing the Abramoff two-step here.

It's a damning portrait of pols doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons.

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