July 19, 2005

The First of Many?

A friend has been predicting for a year or so that more than a few members of the current political class will wind up hot-footing it to Israel when the heat gets too intense. Today comes word from The Hill that a couple of small fish in one of the many burgeoning scandals have gotten out of the kitchen:

Two former associates of Jack Abramoff, the embattled lobbyist, left the country Monday night en route to a new life in Israel. The relocation comes as a Justice Department taskforce presses forward with an investigation into potential criminal wrongdoing stemming from Abramoff’s business dealings.

Sam Hook and his wife Shana Tesler both worked with Abramoff at the law firm, Greenberg Traurig. Hook served as the registered agent for Grassroots Interactive, a lobbying venture tied to Abramoff that has reportedly been subpoenaed by the Justice Department taskforce.

Tesler, a lawyer, worked with Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig and then followed him to the lobbying firm, Cassidy & Associates, after he was ousted from Greenberg following news reports of his questionable dealings with Indian gaming tribes.

Abramoff and public affairs consultant Michael Scanlon are the target of the Justice Department probe and two Senate investigations into allegations that they bilked tribes out of more than $60 million. A federal grand jury has been convened to consider possible criminal charges in the matter.

Like Abramoff, Hook and Tesler are both Orthodox Jews. They have been planning for some time to move their family to Israel, said their attorney Alyza Lewin at Lewin & Lewin.

“Pursuant to longstanding plans that predate any investigation, Shana Tesler and Sam Hook have relocated to Israel…One thing had nothing to do with the other,” Lewin said.

Former White House counsel Lanny Davis said that the pair’s relocation could hamper the Justice Department investigation because it would be harder to enforce subpoenas abroad.

“Whether you are able to enforce a subpoena in a foreign country depends upon specific treaty commitments,” Davis said, “but in general the answer is no… Even if you could try to enforce it through a treaty, it would be extremely difficult.” [More]

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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