Today, the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy and the McCain Institute, in collaboration with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, released a Portrait in Oversight describing a 2004 congressional investigation – led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – that exposed corrupt lobbying practices by Jack Abramoff and others, and produced major lobbying and ethics reforms. The investigation models how Congress can play a key role in countering corruption.
In 2004, after a media account of exorbitant fees paid by several Native American tribes to Washington lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, Sen. McCain launched an investigation into the Washington world of political lobbying. The two-year McCain inquiry exposed a web of corrupt lobbying practices and led to high-profile resignations, prison sentences, and lobbying and ethics reforms.
In addition, complementing the new Portrait in Oversight is a new Levin Center podcast with Sen. McCain’s chief investigator in the Abramoff matter, Pablo Carrillo. You can tune in to his insider explanation of the inquiry on the Levin Center’s Oversight Matters Podcast.
The Abramoff portrait is the latest in a series of profiles developed by the Levin Center of past congressional investigations and key figures in the history of legislative oversight. Together, the portraits explore congressional oversight from 1792 to the modern era, including inquiries into the Civil War, covert CIA operations, Enron, and Watergate and such figures as Representatives John Dingell and Elijah Cummings and Senators Harry Truman and Joe McCarthy. More portraits will be released later this year.