2006_01_charlesrangel.jpgWith fallen DC lobbyist Jack Abramoff's plea deal freaking out the Beltway, people would expect him to turn over Republican congressmen Tom DeLay and Bob Ney. But Gothamist wondered if any of our area politicians were involved. And, naturally, some were, which isn't surprising given money Abramoff had at his disposal (through Abramoff's organization, about $915,000 went to Republicans in Congress, while $770,000 or so went to Democrats; however, Abramoff's personal contributions seem to be limited to Republicans themselves - about $127,000 worth). Newsday reports that Representative Charles Rangel was the top New York receipient of Abramoff's largesse, getting $36,000; he was followed by "Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-Rochester) at $7,000 and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Westchester) at $2,000":

Rangel, who has not been implicated in any wrongdoing, said he is unfairly in the spotlight because of Abramoff's actions. "Don't know him, never met him, never took a dime from him," said the senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel said he has received political and financial support from Native American tribes since his arrival in Congress in the early 1970s because of his activism on Indian sovereignty issues, not gaming. He said, "What he has done is contaminate all the Native American tribes and they all got screwed by him."

In other words, "I never took a golf trip to St. Andrews." The best part of the punditry on Abramoff was when Chris Matthews spewed on and on and finally settled on saying, "He's Satan." Well, the footage of Abramoff in his black trench and fedora certainly made him look evil. And Gothamist cannot wait for the midterms.

UPDATE: Clearly, there are money angles about Abramoff's money - his personal money and money filtered through him from clients for legitimate lobbying causes. Time will tell - and thanks for your input in the comments.