A Lebanon Daily News article asks whether the "Abramoff scandal leads to Santorum?" The piece provides some good background on the K Street project, Rick's role in it and how that relates to the Abramoff scandal.
Here are some excerpts:
DeLay and Norquist initiated K Street after the GOP gained control of Congress in 1994. Defenders of the strategy have likened it to the methods used by Democrats when they ruled in Washington.
But others, like Elizabeth Drew, an author and contributor to the New York Book Review who has investigated the K Street Project, see it as something fundamentally different: a grab for total control.
“The Republican purge of K Street is a more thorough, ruthless, vindictive, and effective attack on Democratic lobbyists and other Democrats who represent businesses and other organizations than anything Washington has seen before,” she wrote in the Review, shortly after the Abramoff investigation became public. “... The K Street Project has become critical to the Republicans’ efforts to control all the power centers in Washington: the White House, Congress, the court — and now, at least, an influential part of the corporate world, the one that raises most of the political money. ... DeLay, Santorum, and their associates organized a systematic campaign, closely monitored by Republicans on Capitol Hill and by Grover Norquist and the Republican National Committee, to put pressure on firms not just to hire Republicans but also to fire Democrats.”
It wasn’t until the GOP obtained the White House in 2000 that the project’s goals took root under Santorum’s leadership, Confessore wrote. Without a balance of power between the two parties, lobbying firms no longer had to court Democrats and were pressured by DeLay and other Republicans to put all their efforts into the GOP.
As Republican Conference chairman, Santorum was in position to orchestrate the GOP’s domination of K Street. At his side from the start, at least two reports state, was Abramoff, who attended the first meeting Santorum hosted.
Both The National Journal, in May 2001, and Roll Call, in March 2001, reported Abramoff was among a group of K Street power brokers invited to meet with Santorum and other lawmakers that March.
Both reports described it, and subsequent meetings, as an informational dialogue about policy and legislative initiatives that included talk about job placement for Republican loyalists.
The National Journal report quotes one Santorum aide as saying the meetings are meant “to develop relationships with folks downtown who generally share our objectives legislatively and who can help us communicate our issues.”
Rick cultivates the image of moral straightness enough so you would think he might be a good point man on this for the Senate. Unfortunately, his gift of double talk and misplaced passion runs the risk of marginalizing the Senate's work on lobbying reform.wil