Fallout from the Abramoff case

Re "Former Force on Capitol Hill Admits Fraud," Jan. 4

What's that saying? When the going gets rough, the tough start plea-bargaining?

ANNA SKLAR

Santa Monica

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Re "Lobbying Plan Was Central to GOP's Political Strategy," Jan. 4

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and others are now in a race to distance themselves from the tainted influence of Jack Abramoff by turning his donations over to charities. But will these same members of Congress be noble enough to reintroduce the bill they supported at Abramoff's behest for a fair vote?

DAVID ABRAHAM

Washington

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Some Republicans, in an effort to fool the beyond-the-Beltway crowd into thinking they're not corrupt, plan to introduce ethics reform legislation soon. Oh, that's rich! What do they plan to call this vital (if somewhat tardy) bill -- the "Stop Me Before I Steal Again Act"? Talk about locking the barn after the cash cow has gotten out.

J.G. BERINSTEIN

Northridge

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Re "The lesson Jack Abramoff taught me," Opinion, Jan. 4

Doug Bandow's plea for forgiveness is pathetic, and he should have known better. We are taught right from wrong at a young age, and that is the foundation for how we live our lives; it is called ethics. In some cases, it is never learned at all.

It shouldn't have taken Abramoff and his criminal action to teach this so-called journalist that kind of lesson, one he should have already known.

FRANCES TERRELL LIPPMAN

Los Angeles

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I found Bandow's mea culpa column a breath of fresh air. I had never heard of him until this episode was recently reported, but I have to say, I was impressed. This is what I would call a timely, honest, well-meaning attempt at setting the record straight, while making a clean start. Undoubtedly some will sneer at his column as an "everybody does it" defense. But I suspect they fail to appreciate the gray area inherent in the money trail within journalism. Besides, he accepts the price he is paying as "fair enough." That's fair enough for me too. I hope he gets a second chance, and I look forward to his future columns. There is a lesson here for Judy Miller, Maggie Gallagher and yes, even Bob Woodward.

MADHAVAN L. RAGHAVAN

Coralville, Iowa

*

A shorter Bandow Opinion piece: Now that I've been caught, I'm really, really sorry.

MIKE HAGERTY

Piatra Neamt, Romania

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