Rep. Frank Wolf Calls Out Norquist

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On Tuesday, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), in a speech delivered on the floor of the House, Wolf excoriated anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, the leader of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and author of that organization’s anti-tax pledge. The group, founded in 1985 at the request of president Ronald Reagan, has spent more than two-and-a-half decades pushing GOP politicians to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks them to oppose “any and all tax increases.” Yet Wolf made it clear that taxes were not the issue. It was Norquist’s association with “a number of unsavory people and groups out of the mainstream” that formed the foundation of his criticism.

“My issue is not with ATR’s goal of keeping taxes low,” Wolf contended.

“Like Ronald Reagan said, and I believe, ‘the problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.’  I want to be perfectly clear: I do not support raising taxes on the American people. My concern is with the other individuals, groups, and causes with whom Mr. Norquist is associated that have nothing to do with keeping taxes low.”

Who are those groups and individuals? Wolf began by illuminating Norquist’s association with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials in 2006. Abramoff, who received a 70-month sentence in a Florida fraud conviction, was given an additional 48 months in September of 2008. Aside from the fallout that snared Congressman Robert Ney and seven other people, Abramoff had drawn attention to himself largely due to the fact that he and his partner took in $82 million from Indian tribes in the casino business. Abramoff’s relationship to Norquist? “Mr. Abramoff essentially laundered money through ATR and Mr. Norquist knew it,” Wolf contended.

Next up was Mr. Norquist’s association with Islamic terrorist financiers. They included Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2004 for his role in a plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Alamoudi pleaded guilty to illegally moving $1 million in cash from Libya to pay conspirators in the plot. Prior to his conviction, Alamoudi had headed the American Muslim Council, which met with senior officials in the Clinton and Bush administrations to promote Muslim political causes. Wolf then referred to terrorist sympathizer Sami Al-Arian, who was sentenced to 57 months in prison in 2006 after pleading guilty to conspiring to perform services for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The PIJ is a designated terrorist organization, which has conducted several attacks against Israel, and remains dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish State. Norquist was “an outspoken supporter of Al-Arian’s effort to end the use of classified evidence in terror trials,” Wolf noted.

Mr. Wolf then spoke about Mr. Norquist’s lobbying on behalf of mortgage giant Fannie Mae. He noted that even as Norquist was running ATR, he founded the lobbying firm of of Janus-Meritt Strategies with partner David Hossein Safavian. Safavian, former chief of staff of the General Services Administration (GSA), was ensnared in the Abramoff scandal and sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2006. That conviction was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which ordered a new trial. In 2008, Mr. Safavian was once again convicted. In 2000, Janus-Merit received $120,000 in lobbying fees from Fannie Mae, which disclosure records reveal was an effort to protect the home ownership tax credit. Many conservatives contend that credit was a key factor contributing to the housing bubble and the subsequent bust.

Mr. Norquist’s effort on behalf of the Internet gambling industry was Rep. Wolf’s next target. Once again, the illegal machinations of Jack Abramoff come into the picture. In 2000, in a successful effort to defeat the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, Abraham spread a lot of money around to various entities on behalf his lobbying client, eLottery Inc. One of his allies in that campaign was Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed. According to the Washington Post, Abramoff used two conduits to get Reed money for his help: Grover Norquist’s American for Tax Reform, which received a $160,000 check, and took $10,000 for itself; and the Faith and Family Alliance, which passed on the remaining $150,000 to Mr. Reed’s company, Century Strategies.

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  • Larry

    In the case of Norquist you have to wonder who is giving who fleas. His list of criminal associates and dubious dealings is so long that not even a stray dog would lie down with him.

  • Chezwick_mac

    Rep Frank Wolf is not only a man of integrity, he is an effective and competent Congressman.

    It's about time someone INSIDE the halls of power called out Grover Norquist on his terror ties. Hopefully, this is the beginning of his banishment to the political wilderness.

  • meekee

    Wasn't 'Super Grover' a star on Sesame Street .. seems like his powers have faded now!

  • alfarturo

    Norquist lobbied for Internet gambling and the housing tax credit? I vow to write him another check this year. I'm sorry, but Wolf reveals himself as just another maven of government. Honestly, people of his ilk are some of the most detestable people on earth.

  • StephenD

    What seems to be lurking just under the surface of this go at Norquist is the fact that those conservatives that want "wiggle room" on the tax issue need to get staunch anti-tax folks out of the way. In other words, the very reprehensible things Norquist is involved in were merely a catalyst by which to neuter his influence in the tax world. This is a shame and a scam on the rest of us conservatives who see associating and advocating for Islamic political causes as more dangerous than a tax increase. Norquists’ behavior to this end should have been of great concern to these folks long ago. I challenge their authenticity on this. Be that as it may, they ought to see to the permanent end of Norquists’ influence in all things conservative.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    Will the Wolf chase the camel out of the GOP tent? Hope so.

    Click my name to read my latest Townhall piece On Obama's Coming Cuban Missile CRisis.

    • jacob

      What in my humble opinion is needed is to clean house in WASHINGTON….

      As an example of what I said, I would like to ask Senator BROWN, elected with
      all that fanfare to the senate seat vacated by Teddy Kennedy until his death,what
      has he done in the Senate since that memorable ride with OBAMA on Air Force

  • PhillipGaley

    Norquist is—I think—but another of those men who, finding the difficulty or complete impossibility in putting a decent woman in response to himself, simply, . . . "goes moslem", . . . no more problem, . . . and a whole new world, . . . in a whole 'nother dimension, . . . now, we just have t'get enough Americans and men of western Europe to go along t'make it all really legit, . . .

  • Flipside

    Just last week, Norquist was being described on FPM as a swindler with ties to The Muslim Brotherhood. Now he is being described as swindler with ties to Jack Abramoff. May I remind you that this second description relies upon the dislike of Abramoff and the AMDOCS Israeli espionage / flight risk issue? It is plain that FPM wants to take out Norquist. You do, however shoot yourself in the foot by smearing him with one of your own:

  • Ellene

    Grover Norquist is, I believe, married to a Palestinian – there is a saying in our family – "Don't marry outside your tribe". It causes problems. Perceptions change and basic values can be eroded by the Sirens' call.

    • Flipside

      Wow! I didn’t know they still made racist families!

  • aspacia

    "In the minds of most Americans, the words “conscience” and “Congress” have become mutually exclusive. Frank Wolf seems to understand that. It remains to be seen how many of his colleagues on either side of the aisle reach a similar conclusion."

    Great Conclusion!

  • WilliamJamesWard

    We have laws against the dissolute practice of buying influence by lobbyists.
    Norquist is a sleazy rat and should be sent to prison forever as a warning to
    other dirt bag criminals looking into what politicians have made of our Capitol,
    a cash cow and feeding trough of back door influence peddlers……….William

  • Marti

    Our government has become so inherently corrupt it would take a lifetime to take out all the weeds of ANTI-AMERICAN SCUM!
    These people can't see the forest for the trees, or they would have tried to stop OBAMA from sherdding our Constitution.

  • maturin20

    The American Right is having trouble policing itself? Surprise, surprise.