Signatures restaurant, the expense-account haven owned by super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has hosted at least 60 GOP fund-raisers since it opened on Washington’s Pennsylvania Ave. NW in early 2002. But the June 3, 2003, lunchtime gathering was special: The guest of honor was House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), and the event was a relatively intimate gathering dominated by lobbyists from Greenberg Traurig, the law and lobbying firm where Abramoff then worked.
The problem? Nobody paid for the lunch — or reported it in disclosure documents as an in-kind contribution — as federal election law requires, BusinessWeek Online has learned. The tab — which Hastert’s office would not disclose — was paid only this month, around the time that BusinessWeek Online began to investigate fund-raisers for Republican politicos held at Signatures. Hastert’s office says his staffers uncovered the oversight.
Republicans and corruption, inseparable.