Why Channel One is out of classrooms: Channel One’s lobbying thugs. (2006)

July 10, 2018

Instead of making their company better, Channel One News paid lobbyists to do dirty tricks.

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The next day, Mr. Abramoff wrote to Ms. Ridenour:
Amy, can you get me an invoice for a contribution for $10,000 which I can push through Channel One? Jeff has asked for this so we can get something to you asap. Thanks.

On March 13, 2000, Dennis Stephens forwarded a commentary from R.D. Davis, a member of NCPPR’s Project 21, a national leadership network of black conservatives:
I note for the files, that Amy Ridenour has a member of Project 21 who is a writer and radio talk show host in Huntsville, Alabama. With the proper education, etc, he might be recruitable for Channel One support and Metrock bashing. Thoughts?

Mr. Abramoff forwarded the message to Ms. Berger, who responded:
worth keeping in mind—esp. if we get a contract with [Channel One]!

In an interview with Committee staff, Ms. Ridenour denied that NCPPR was engaged in any ‘‘Metrock bashing.’’

1999 – The chief lobbyist for Channel One News was “Casino Jack” Abramoff.

July 10, 2018

From Jim Metrock: The good stuff in this Congressional report is near the end. In 1999, everything was going wrong for Channel One. Instead of trying to improve their company, they hired more and more lobbyists. Lobbyists have a bad reputation already, but Channel One hired the most underhanded in the business.  This is a rare glimpse inside a major lobbying effort.  Contents of emails are in bold italic.

“Metrock bashing”

Report Uncovers Channel One’s Sleazy Tactics

October 15, 2006

MINORITY STAFF REPORT

INVESTIGATION OF JACK ABRAMOFF’S USE OF
TAX-EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS

PREPARED BY THE MINORITY STAFF OF THE

COMMITTEE ON FINANCE
UNITED STATES SENATE

CHARLES E. GRASSLEY, Chairman
MAX BAUCUS, Ranking Member

OCTOBER  2006

COMMITTEE ON FINANCE

CHARLES E. GRASSLEY, Iowa, Chairman

ORRIN G. HATCH, Utah
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
JON KYL, Arizona
CRAIG THOMAS, Wyoming
RICK SANTORUM, Pennsylvania
BILL FRIST, Tennessee
GORDON SMITH, Oregon
JIM BUNNING, Kentucky
MIKE CRAPO, Idaho

MAX BAUCUS, Montana
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West Virginia
KENT CONRAD, North Dakota
JAMES M. JEFFORDS (I), Vermont
JEFF BINGAMAN, New Mexico
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, Arkansas
RON WYDEN, Oregon
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
KOLANDAVIS, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
RUSSELLSULLIVAN, Democratic Staff Director

INVESTIGATION OF JACK ABRAMOFF’S USE OF TAX-EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS

INTRODUCTION
In September 2005, the United States Senate Committee on Finance (‘‘the Committee’’) began an investigation into the actions of tax-exempt organizations relating to the lobbying operations of Jack Abramoff. The role tax-exempt organizations played in Mr. Abramoff’s client relationships first came to light during an investigation by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. In that investigation, e-mails from and to Mr. Abramoff showed that he furthered his lobbying enterprise with the help of several tax- exempt organizations, which took contributions arranged by Mr. Abramoff and undertook actions on Mr. Abramoff’s clients’ behalf.

In the final report on its investigation, the Committee on Indian Affairs observed that tax-exempt organizations were apparently ‘‘serving or being used as extensions of for-profit lobbying operations.’’

The Senate rules give the Committee on Finance jurisdiction over revenue matters, and thus the Committee is responsible for conducting oversight of the administration of the federal tax system, including matters involving abusive acts by tax-exempt organizations. The Committee takes particular interest in ensuring that tax laws affecting donors and exempt organizations operate in a manner that benefits the American public. This investigation has been conducted not only to inform the Committee and the public about the specific organizations connected to Mr. Abramoff, but also to provide a broader picture of issues to be considered by Congress and the public with regard to tax-exempt organizations, including charitable organizations.

On September 22, 2005, Senator Charles Grassley and Senator Max Baucus, Chairman and Ranking Democratic Member of the Committee, authorized, on behalf of the Committee, the issuance of subpoenas to Mr. Abramoff’s former employers, Greenberg Traurig LLP and Preston Gates LLP. The subpoenas sought any and all communications of Jack Abramoff as well as financial records.

Along with the e-mails and other documents provided to the Committee in response to the subpoenas, Committee Minority staff reviewed e-mails made public by the Committee on Indian Affairs. The Committee on Indian Affairs also shared with the Committee e-mails within the jurisdiction of the Committee that the Committee on Indian Affairs had not previously made public.

In its review of the materials, the Committee’s Minority staff discovered actions taken by several tax-exempt organizations that raise serious legal and policy questions. The Minority staff focused on five organizations that appeared, in the context of the reviewed material, to be willing to provide certain services for Mr. Abramoff’s clients in exchange for payments. They are:
• Americans for Tax Reform,
• National Center for Public Policy Research,
• Toward Tradition,
• Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, and
• Citizens Against Government Waste.

FINDINGS
The Minority staff found that some officers of these organizations were generally available to carry out Mr. Abramoff’s requests for help with his clients in exchange for cash payments. The help they provided varied from organization to organization, but included:
• helping to hide sources of funds by laundering payments and then disbursing funds at Mr. Abramoff’s direction,
• taking payments in exchange for writing newspaper columns or press releases that put Mr. Abramoff’s clients in a favorable light,
• introducing Mr. Abramoff’s clients to government officials in exchange for payment, and
• agreeing to act as a front organization for congressional trips paid for by Mr. Abramoff’s clients.

Media reports indicate that employees of other organizations have resigned when similar allegations came to light. In December 2005, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, Doug Bandow, resigned after admitting that Mr. Abramoff paid him for op-ed articles that were favorable to Mr. Abramoff’s clients. Mr. Bandow admitted to taking money for writing between 12 and 24 articles over a period of years, beginning in the mid 1990s. Mr. Bandow called his actions a ‘‘lapse in judgment’’ and resigned.

E-mails subpoenaed by the Committee do not implicate the Cato Institute. The correspondence clearly shows, however, that the tax- exempt organizations listed above—not just the individuals directly involved—took payments when their employees agreed to write such articles favorable to Mr. Abramoff’s clients.

This type of activity indicates that these tax-exempt organizations engaged in what amounted to profit-seeking and private benefit behavior inconsistent with their tax-exempt status. And by virtue of the tax benefits, other taxpayers implicitly subsidized this behavior. Thus, these tax-exempt organizations appear to have perpetrated a fraud on other taxpayers.

AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM

Americans for Tax Reform (‘‘ATR’’) describes itself as an organization that advocates for a system in which taxes are ‘‘simpler, fairer, flatter, more visible, and lower than they are today.’’17 It states that government’s power to control one’s life derives from its power to tax and that such power should be minimized. On its IRS Form 990, the section 501(c)(4) organization lists its primary ex- empt purpose as increasing public awareness about the size and regulations of government and rallying support for lower taxes and smaller government.

ATR was founded in 1985 by Grover Norquist, who is its current president. According to media reports, he and Mr. Abramoff have been friends since they were college students in Massachusetts, where they organized support for Ronald Reagan’s presidential candidacy in 1980. When Mr. Abramoff became national chairman of the College Republicans, he made Mr. Norquist his executive director. The two later worked together at the conservative advocacy
group Citizens for America (before Mr. Norquist founded ATR).

After Mr. Abramoff became a lobbyist in the mid-1990s, the two corresponded by e-mail, occasionally discussing proposed payments from Mr. Abramoff’s clients and what those clients wanted from ATR. Other ATR employees corresponded with Mr. Abramoff and his colleagues, as well.

Those e-mails from and to Mr. Abramoff, his colleagues and ATR officials indicate that ATR:
• accepted payments from clients of Mr. Abramoff with the agreement to write checks to third parties as Mr. Abramoff directed, with ATR retaining a portion of the funds on at least one occasion,
• accepted payments from clients of Mr. Abramoff with tacit or explicit agreements to perform services such as writing newspaper columns favorable to the clients, and
• accepted payments from clients of Mr. Abramoff while agreeing to introduce them to government officials, including then- White House Senior Advisor Karl Rove.

In the organization’s response to Minority staff questions, ATR’s attorney responded that as long as ATR spends its funds in keeping with its general purpose and permissible activities under the law, ‘‘there is no ‘abuse’ of ATR’s tax status by virtue of ATR’s involvement in state level, grassroots campaigns on issues.’’ ATR declined to respond to questions regarding the identity of, or contributions from, any donor.

In an e-mail to Jeffrey Ballabon, then executive vice president of public affairs for Primedia Inc.’s Channel One Network, Mr. Abramoff indicated how much he valued his relationship with Mr. Norquist. Mr. Abramoff told Mr. Ballabon that he strongly opposed putting another lobbyist in contact with Mr. Norquist: ‘‘We should not fully (or perhaps even partially) trust this guy and certainly we should not be giving our hard won assets or contacts. The quickest way to lose the interest of Sheldon, Grover et al is to ‘hand them over’ to another lobbyist.’’ Mr. Ballabon responded, ‘‘ABSOLUTELY! We are not sharing our friends.’

2. LOBBYING

Channel One Network

In 1999, as a coalition of opponents sought to remove Channel One from public school classrooms, Mr. Abramoff and his clients looked in part to tax-exempt organizations to provide public support for Channel One. One argument was that Channel One offered tax savings for state and federal governments.
Mr. Ballabon with Channel One wrote to one of the Preston Gates lobbyists, Amy Berger, on January 12, 1999: 
I think that next I want to get credit from the Pentagon public affairs dept & then from ONDCP (office of drug policy) & then from minority groups, &c &c . . . & Grover & CAGW & Rabbi Lapin . . . we should get these guys crazy! & lots & lots of interviews w/members of Congress! At least one press release every week or two

Mr. Ballabon wrote to Mr. Abramoff on January 18, 1999:
The only thing I think Paul really needs before he gets on C-SPAN on Thursday is a statement he can attribute somehow to Grover or CAGW that rebuts Molnar’s charge that we are a waste of tax dollars. Can you help us get something somehow (between now and then) that Paul can refer to which argues that we are, in fact, a huge and creative tax savings?

Ms. Berger wrote to Abramoff the next day as a reminder:
Call Council Nedd and/or Tom Schatz or even Grover to get a statement that Ch 1 is a huge and creative tax savings!!!!!

Mr. Abramoff wrote to Mr. Ballabon on January 20, 1999:
I set in motion today a piece by Peter Ferrara (the chief tax counsel of ATR and former fellow of Heritage and Cato) which deals with the cost to taxpayers issue. He’ll have a draft real fast for us. It’ll run in the Investors Business Daily, and probably reprinted in Human Events.

Mr. Ballabon replied:
Excellent. Thanks, Jack. ALSO—tell Grover he can redeem himself by blasting the coalition in a letter to the NYT responding to today’s story.

Mr. Abramoff wrote back and included Ms. Berger:
Good idea. Amy, hold on getting this to Ferrara. Let’s draft something from Grover to respond to this and I’ll get it to him. Have Daniel draft it up fast. I’ll run it by Grover. We’ll send it him and voila, it should work. Thanks Jeff.

Ten days later, Mr. Norquist published an op-ed in the Washington Times titled ‘‘Tuning in to Channel One.’’ Mr. Abramoff wrote to Mr. Ballabon on February 3, 1999, regarding providing money to ATR for a dinner series.
. . . especially in light of the huge hit Grover delivered, I think this would be a very nice gesture on your part.

On April 20, 1999, Mr. Abramoff wrote that they needed to agree on the price topay Peter Ferrara at ATR for an economic analysis related to Channel One.
Jeff, we need to agree on the price we are going to pay him. I think he wants $5K, but we have offered him $3K. We can put this on our bill as a subcontract, but the firm will not want to have to pay for this out of our fees. Give me some guidance. He is, meanwhile, working on it. . . .

Ms. Berger then wrote to Mr. Abramoff:
i have offered him $2000 and he said ok!!! I am calling right now to make the appointment.

Mr. Abramoff replied:
You’re a bargain shopper! Tell him we’ll give him $3K, but we want him to do press and talk radio on this. That way I don’t look like an idiot with Jeff. Wait till I tell Glen what a bargain you can drive!

Dennis Stephens (a government affairs counselor at Preston Gates) wrote to Mr. Abramoff on May 17, 1999, that ‘‘Peter with ATR is in,’’ referring to Peter Ferrara at ATR:
When I talked with Peter this morning, he was planning to draft a press release hammering the ‘‘anti technology’’ crowd per Jeff B’s request and will also be distributing Grovers nice piece on Channel One. A nice balance, a positive piece on the good guys and a hit piece on the bad guys. Sound good?

On May 19, 1999, ATR published a policy brief authored by Mr. Ferrara entitled ‘‘The Clear Benefits of Channel One.’’26 On May 20, 1999, Mr. Abramoff wrote to Mr. Norquist to say ‘‘thanks Gro- ver’’ after receiving a copy of an ATR press release defending Channel One.

On April 24, 2000, ATR was included in a list of organizations to contact on Channel One:
Grover Norquist (ATR)—Damon in his office is revising K. Ring Draft letter and intends to send out this Friday . . . to all GOP senators and maybe to Dems also—

The same day, Mr. Abramoff wrote to Mr. Norquist to say a need for ‘‘a hard-hitting op-ed has arisen’’ regarding Channel One. Mr. Abramoff asked whether Mr. Norquist would be willing to do it himself:
Ariana Huffington has now joined Ralph Nader and George Miller in attacking Channel One. . . . We want to do an oped which smacks her big time, and also swipes at Nader’s guy and the other loonieon this. We have $1,500 to do this piece and get it placed. Are you interested (we can write it for you)? If not, let me know if I can approach Peter [Ferrara].

Mr. Norquist wrote back to Mr. Abramoff the next day:
Jack, yes, go ahead and draft a copy for me. I have just spoken with the head of the Washington Times op-ed about a piece for Bruce Heinman. They said they are full for a while due to Elian article. I will talk to Helle Wed morning and make a case for this piece. yes, ATR will do this piece and push to have it in the Washington Times and the Investors Business Daily. Also I will share it with all our state groups. Grover

NATIONAL CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH

The National Center for Public Policy Research (‘‘NCPPR’’), which represents itself as a ‘‘conservative think tank,’’ is organized under IRC section 501(c)(3).29 The organization, founded in 1981, describes its primary exempt purpose as educating Americans about the free market solutions to today’s public policy problems.

On its website, NCPPR is described as a research organization dedicated to a strong national defense and to providing free-market solutions to today’s public policy problems. The website states: ‘‘We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.’’

Amy Ridenour, NCPPR’s president and a founder of the organization, first met Mr. Abramoff when they were members of the College Republicans. In testimony before the Committee on Indian Affairs and in an interview with Finance Committee staff, Ms. Ridenour said that her organization accepted donations from Mr. Abramoff’s clients and routed money as Mr. Abramoff directed. Mr. Abramoff served on NCPPR’s board of directors.

E-mail exchanges among Ms. Ridenour, Mr. Abramoff, and Mr. Abramoff’s colleagues and clients indicate that CREA/Ms. Ridenour:
• accepted payments from Mr. Abramoff’s clients and then acted as the front organization to pay for trips by members of Congress, their staff members and others,
• accepted payments from Mr. Abramoff’s clients and then wrote checks as Mr. Abramoff directed, and
• accepted contributions from Mr. Abramoff’s clients and then performed services such as writing favorable newspaper columns and speaking in favor of clients’ causes.

  1.  LOBBYING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS WORK FOR ABRAMOFF CLIENTS

Channel One Network

E-mails indicate that Ms. Ridenour wrote newspaper columns at the direction of Mr. Abramoff’s client Primedia Inc. She maintains that she did such work ‘‘independent of’’ and ‘‘without regard to’’ Primedia’s contributions.

In 1999, Mr. Abramoff and his associates discussed with Jeff Ballabon, who at the time was executive vice president of public affairs for Primedia’s Channel One Network, the best way to fend off a coalition seeking the network’s ouster from public school classrooms.

Mr. Abramoff’s colleague, Amy Berger, wrote on April 12, 1999:
In preparation for hearings on Channel One, it would be extremely useful to have a white paper issued by a conservative think tank group like Heritage or CATO. I know that you have excellent contacts with these think tanks. Would you be able to work with a think tank to produce this type of a paper?

Patrick Pizzella, another colleague, wrote back:
my guess is it would cost about $5000 and we would want them to promote it. . . . and we ought to use a smaller out- fit . . . maybe Amy R., maybe CEI. . . .

Mr. Abramoff replied to Mr. Pizzella:
I think Amy is the way to go. I am meeting with her this week. I’ll raise it with her.

Mr. Abramoff wrote to Mr. Ballabon on May 19, 1999:
When we are through the hearing, we have to discuss getting Amy a contribution as we discussed. She was going to do 5 pieces for $10K. We can chat on this next week.

Mr. Ballabon responded:
yup—I have not forgotten (was it $10?—I wrote it down—whatever it was, she’ll get it.)

Mr. Abramoff wrote to Ms. Ridenour the same day:
I just want to thank you again for all you to do help us. Jeff is so grateful and, as soon as the dust clears, is going to make his gratitude tangible. Thanks for all you do!

On May 23, 1999, Mr. Ballabon wrote to Mr. Abramoff saying that Ms. Ridenour ‘‘really does deliver.’’ Mr. Abramoff wrote back:
We should get her a check as soon as we can. She can really help us with the Approps battle (we have used her before for this kind of battle before).

The next day, Mr. Abramoff wrote to Ms. Ridenour:
Amy, can you get me an invoice for a contribution for $10,000 which I can push through Channel One? Jeff has asked for this so we can get something to you asap. Thanks.

On March 13, 2000, Dennis Stephens forwarded a commentary from R.D. Davis, a member of NCPPR’s Project 21, a national leadership network of black conservatives:
I note for the files, that Amy Ridenour has a member of Project 21 who is a writer and radio talk show host in Huntsville, Alabama. With the proper education, etc, he might be recruitable for Channel One support and Metrock bashing. Thoughts?

Mr. Abramoff forwarded the message to Ms. Berger, who responded:
worth keeping in mind—esp. if we get a contract with [Channel One]!

In an interview with Committee staff, Ms. Ridenour denied that NCPPR was engaged in any ‘‘Metrock bashing.’’

On October 29, 2001, Mr. Ballabon at Primedia wrote to Mr. Abramoff regarding Ms. Ridenour:
Any way to get some paperwork from her on the 50k asap so I can get a check cut?

Mr. Abramoff wrote back with an attached NCPPR invoice requesting a contribution of $49,000 from Primedia ‘‘to support public programs.’’
I used one of their other invoices for another project and made it work. Let me know the next step. Please get the check directly to me. Thanks.

Mr. Ballabon wrote back on November 8, 2001, to say that a check had been cut and that he was sending it to Ms. Ridenour. Mr. Abramoff objected:
No! Send it to me. I have to work this through with her carefully.

CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE

Citizens Against Government Waste (‘‘CAGW’’) reports that its mission is ‘‘to eliminate waste, mismanagement and inefficiency in the federal government.’’ It was established in 1984, following the release of the Grace Commission report, a private-sector effort established by President Reagan with an aim of highlighting waste in government spending.

CAGW’s primary exempt purpose, as listed on its IRS Form 990, is ‘‘to perform nonpartisan research and analysis on waste and in- efficiency in the government and to conduct educational programs to eliminate government waste.’’ It is organized under section 501(c)(3).

The group is listed in e-mails as one that Mr. Abramoff and his colleagues thought they could turn to for a friendly op-ed piece or letter to the editor in exchange for a payment to the organization. In his response to staff questions, CAGW’s president, Tom Schatz, stated that the organization is independent and nonpartisan and that it was not ‘‘affiliated’’ with Mr. Abramoff and therefore did not play a role in Mr. Abramoff’s client relationships.

Channel One Network

In 1999, Mr. Abramoff and his associates solicited help from several tax-exempt organizations, including CAGW, for help serving their client, Channel One Network. In a written response to Minority staff questions, Mr. Schatz said CAGW has never received a contribution from Channel One. He reiterated in a telephone interview that the organization also never received a contribution from Channel One’s parent company, Primedia Inc.

On January 25, 1999, Amy Berger wrote to Mr. Abramoff about Council Nedd, at the time a CAGW employee:
Just heard from Council Nedd. He is getting calls from his members about the press release on Channel One including an Alabama member (not Metrock). I faxed him the release and offered to be of help answering questions raised by his members about Channel One. He asked that we keep all of this quiet.

Mr. Abramoff replied:
Is he OK? Which members? Please let me know as soon as possible.

Ms. Berger wrote back later that day:
I just talked to Council. He’s ok—at least for now. It turns out that a member of CAGW from Alabama and Jim Metrock called. The message is the usual Metrock stuff. Council was concerned that Tom Schatz would be upset but Schatz is completely fine on this. Council asked me to reassure you that they are fine on their position and I said if there’s a problem and/or they need bolstering, we are here!

Mr. Nedd wrote to Mr. Abramoff on March 3, 1999:
I just talked to Tom. He is also going to be on Washington Journal on C-SPAN this morning, and he going to try to get in a plug about Channel One.

Mr. Abramoff forwarded the e-mail to his staff, saying, ‘‘Let’s run a tape on this one!’’ But Ms. Berger wrote later that day to Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Ballabon at Channel One:
I talked to Tom Schatz this morning. Just as he was about to mention Channel One on CSpan he was cut off by the House of Representatives! He said that he will mention Channel One in his press conference today on the CAGW pig book. Also, Channel One is in the pig book as an example of an antidote to government waste. I am sending over a messenger to pick up copies and will distribute them.

On May 13, 1999, Ms. Berger wrote to colleague Dennis Stephens with the subject line, ‘‘one pagers by conservative groups (ridenauer, ATR, CAGW, TVC):
You may recall that Jack asked you yesterday to arrange for these groups to hand out one pagers following the hearing. With Jack’s approval, would you please coordinate this? Thanks.

The next day, Mr. Stephens wrote back to Ms. Berger and Mr. Abramoff:
. . . Council with CAGW is in . . . Hope to get our groups wrapped up today and follow up, follow up all next week.

In an e-mail to Mr. Abramoff on July 28, 1999, Mr. Schatz asked Mr. Abramoff a favor:
First, Shawn McBurney is now on board at CAGW. We are coming over on Monday for the Channel One event and I will make sure to introduce you to him at that time. Second, would you happen to have two or three tickets in your box to see Bruce Springsteen at the MCI Center, either Aug. 31 or Sept. 3? That would be greatly appreciated!!

Mr. Abramoff replied:
Look forward to seeing you Monday. We are oversubscribed at the box at this time for all the concerts, but let me see what I can do. Since we are definitely tight, would two work, or do you need three? Please let me know.

On October 14, 1999, Ms. Berger informed Mr. Abramoff that another lobbyist had discussed soliciting help from CAGW and other organizations. Mr. Abramoff replied:
We should not hand over our friends to this guy. In fact, we should tell our friends to stand clear of him . . .

An October 18, 1999, e-mail from Ms. Berger to Mr. Abramoff indicates that several organizations, including CAGW, had agreed to sign letters to the editor in support of Mr. Abramoff’s client Channel One after an article appeared in New Republic. The subject line is ‘‘Ok to send these to Jeff [Ballabon?]’’:
Daniel has drafted these letters to respond to the New Republic piece. Can you review these asap so we can get them to Jeff for his approval? We also may need your help getting Rabbi Lapin and CAGW to submit these letters to the New Republic. Is there anyone else who you think should write a response to the New Republic?

On November 3, 1999, Mr. Abramoff wrote to his assistant regarding Crosby Stills Nash and Young tickets that cost $211 each:
I would like four tickets and a parking pass. Attending would be Tom Schatz (Pres. Of CAGW and his wife), myself and Carie . . .

TOWARD TRADITION

Toward Tradition describes itself as ‘‘working to restore America’s respect for the dignity and morality of business.’’ Rabbi Daniel Lapin, its director and founder, described Toward Tradition in an e-mail as ‘‘essentially an anti-defamation organization defending the institution of business against unfair attack.’’ A second area of work, he stated, is ‘‘building an alliance of Jews, Christians and other Americans to help restore America’s founding ethic of limited government, centrality of the family, and a strong defense.’’51 Toward Tradition is organized under section 501(c)(3).

Mr. Abramoff served on the organization’s board of directors until 2004. He served two terms as its chairman. E-mails show that Mr. Abramoff could turn to Rabbi Lapin for a friendly newspaper column that put a client in a positive light. Indeed, the e- mail communication indicates that Mr. Abramoff planned how best to use Rabbi Lapin as a resource.

For example, in an e-mail exchange with Amy Berger, an associate at Preston Gates, Mr. Abramoff suggested that they avoid having Lapin write a letter on behalf of a client, Channel One Network. Ms. Berger already had a copy of such a letter and wanted to ‘‘get them to Jeff [Ballabon, with Channel One] for his approval.’’ Mr. Abramoff’s response indicates that he needed to use Lapin for another purpose to benefit the same client: ‘‘I don’t want Rabbi Lapin to do this. We are going to need him to discreetly call [James] Dobson to get Jeff a meeting, so I don’t want to put him out publicly again yet.’’

In a telephone call with Minority staff, Rabbi Lapin said Toward Tradition is in the process of shutting down as a result of negative publicity related to the investigation of Mr. Abramoff. He said the corporation had not ‘‘folded’’ yet but that legal steps were being taken to do so.

Channel One Network

On March 11, 1999, Rabbi Lapin sent a copy of a proposed newspaper column to Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Ballabon of Channel One. The op-ed piece was titled, ‘‘Is Making an Honest Living Immoral? Your Children Think So.’’ Mr. Ballabon wrote back to Lapin and Mr. Abramoff:
First of all, let me say that this is a terrific piece (I’m not surprised, just grateful). . . . I have just one lingering concern: It is important to realize that 10,000 of our 12,000schools are, indeed, public schools. There are two places (see my notations in the document itself) where you attack the schools themselves. . . . I think it might be more fruitful to direct your criticism at our real detractors: none of them are educators at all. They are just radical anti-business political operatives and academics who argue against Channel One despite our support from teachers of all kinds of schools with all kinds of philosophies. . . . Rather than drive in a wedge, I’d like to bring them together to attack these outside commie agitators. Once again, I think it is only an issue raised by two comments in the piece, which is magnificent. Jeff

On July 11, 1999, Amy Berger with Preston Gates wrote to Mr. Abramoff:
At last week’s meeting with Jeff you suggested getting groups like TVC [Traditional Values Coalition] and Toward Tradition to give awards to Channel One. Is there anything I can do to help facilitate this? For example, there may be some Channel One specials that Toward Tradition would like (but I need dto know what Toward Tradition cares about). Your thoughts?

In an August 11, 2006 letter to the Minority staff Rabbi Lapin stated that ‘‘I have no recollection of any donations that Toward Tradition received from Channel One Network and/or Primedia.’’ He also stated that ‘‘I do not believe that Toward Tradition ever gave any award to Channel One’’, and that the article on Channel One ‘‘never saw the light of day.’’

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