Casino Jack and the United States of Money Alex Gibneys Dokumentarfilm untersucht diese Fragen am Beispiel des Lobbyisten Jack Abramoff, Alex Gibney. Das Sundance Film Festival war das Sundance Film Festival und fand vom bis Casino Jack and the United States of Money, Gibney! . Jim Owen: Cómo conocí a tu padre: Álex Montoya: Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No: James. welche es sind Jetzt auf MUBI. Casino Jack and the United States of Money Regie Alex Gibney Alex Gibney Producer, Screenplay Director · Foto von Alison.
Abramoff's biggest lobbying coup for the Louisiana Coushatta was shutting down a casino east of Houston, Texas, that may have put his client's casino out of business.
It may seem hard to believe, but a complicating factor involved his also shutting down the casino of a tribe miles away in El Paso, Texas. Gibney focused a lot of attention on the Tigua tribe of El Paso.
This pivotal and controversial episode in the Abramoff scandal is the one which reporter Susan Schmidt of The Washington Post , whom Gibney interviewed extensively in the film , manufactured so that Abramoff would appear to be the most deceitful villain who'd had ever slithered out of the slime.
Schmidt claimed that Abramoff had secretly shut down the Tigua's casino simply so he could appear the very next day in order to persuade the tribe to hire him to get its casino reopened!
The ultimate sleazebag, right? It was Schmidt who was sleazy--some would say dishonest--in how she manipulated the facts. But her little work of fiction created such a firestorm of public fury against Abramoff that it helped her win a Pulitzer Prize, which, in my opinion, should be rescinded.
What's more, it was also the final straw that made Abramoff's imprisonment inevitable. The problem is that Schmidt withheld a crucial piece of information from her story.
Here are the facts. Please bear with me. This is a bit complicated. Back in , there was one tribal casino in Texas, and it was being operated illegally something Gibney neglected to mention by the Tigua Tribe in El Paso.
There was a second tribe preparing to open its own illegal casino miles away, east of Houston. That second tribe is confusingly called the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas.
A pending bill in the Texas state legislature would have legalized both tribal casinos. Abramoff's client--the Louisiana Coushatta, who had just purchased 9, acres of land thanks to Abramoff and DeLay , operated a very lucrative casino near the Texas border--felt very threatened.
Most of its gamblers drove three hours from the Houston area to play slot machines and blackjack in its casino. Had the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas opened its own casino east of Houston, Abramoff's client, the Louisiana Coushatta, might have been forced out of business.
Why drive three hours to gamble when a new casino has just opened minutes away? Here's the point of this complex-sounding story. Abramoff needed to stop that Texas bill which would have legalized the two tribal casinos, even though only one of them--the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas--threatened his Louisiana client.
Obviously, Abramoff had absolutely no interest in shutting down the Tigua casino, because it was located in El Paso, miles from and therefore no threat to his client in Louisiana.
But, yes, if Abramoff could find a way to kill the bill, the Tigua casino would also be shut down. In another brilliant lobbying coup, which Gibney once again failed to point out , Abramoff managed to derail the Texas bill.
The bill had already passed in the Texas House by an vote margin. It would have easily passed in the Texas Senate by an even greater margin, but Abramoff was somehow able to prevent the bill from ever reaching the Senate floor for a vote!
Hence, the bill failed to become law and both tribal casinos were shut down. She claimed that Abramoff's sole purpose was to shut down the Tigua's casino so he could persuade them to hire him to get it reopened.
She completely omitted the fact that the casino of another tribe--the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas--was the one and only one he was really interested in shuttering.
Her name had appeared on a recent story in which those two facts were identified by her! Hence, it would appear that Schmidt deliberately omitted this key bit of information simply so her story would make Abramoff's behavior seem so reprehensible.
I discussed this complicated story a number of times with Gibney. He didn't seem as outraged as I. But he did end up conceding in his film that Abramoff's shuttering of the Tigua casino was "collateral damage.
She simply omitted the name of the second tribe and, most importantly, that the second tribe was Abramoff's real target. Given Schmidt's previous reporting, she knew that the real reason for Abramoff's actions were not what she reported, but rather to protect his Louisiana-based casino client.
In the film, Gibney did not call Schmidt on the carpet for her gross journalistic transgression or question her on this matter at all. Why he gave her a free pass I find puzzling.
Although Gibney did mention that McCain had suppressed many of Abramoff's subpoenaed emails, Gibney did not provide a readily available and widely known specific numerical percentage.
This highly selective release of emails allowed McCain to paint Abramoff in the worst possible light, especially since Abramoff foolishly decided not to defend himself during the hearings.
On advice of counsel, Abramoff exercised his Fifth Amendment right, which led many to conclude he was guilty. Gibney did point out that McCain suppressed many of Abramoff's emails, but that he did so to avoid injuring his fellow Republicans.
That was only partly true. The tiny fraction of emails McCain released had been selected and taken out of context in order to generate the greatest possible damage to Abramoff.
Gibney knew this, because we discussed it many times, but did not mention it. This is another key issue that Gibney chose not to address in his film.
What exactly was Abramoff guilty of? He never did that, although he did plead guilty to it. Doubtful, although he did plead guilty to this.
Even some of the federal prosecutors who worked on the case strongly disagree on this tax-evasion charge. Definitely not, though he did plead guilty to this too.
Defrauding his tribal clients? Well, now we've now arrived at the crux of the criminal matter, which centers on the "kickback" scheme involving Abramoff's public-relations colleague, Michael Scanlon.
Perhaps this was not worth mentioning in the film, but Gibney knew this. What crimes did Abramoff actually commit? Bob Ney to insert frivolous comments in the frivolous Congressional Records Extensions.
Abramoff gave lawmakers and their staff free meals, drinks at his restaurant and free seats at sporting events, and subsidized a few golf trips.
And what did he get in return? He helped his tribal clients' casinos remain profitable. He wangled an audience with President George W. Bush for the prime minister of Indonesia.
This is inconsequential compared to the great evils perpetuated by the financial-industry lobbyists, the health-care lobbyists, the tobacco lobbyists, the National Rifle Association, etc.
And for these petty gems of sleaze and corruption, Abramoff is sent to federal prison for four years? Seems to me like much ado about nothing.
What Gibney did not mention in his film is that lobbying--the right to petition Congress--is protected by the very First Amendment to the Constitution.
Sure, every liberal wants elections to be publicly financed, but it will never happen because of something called the "incumbency advantage.
It's doubtful that current lawmakers are going to pass legislation that would make it easier for their opponents to take away their jobs.
When Abramoff stopped the Republican-controlled Congress from taxing Indian casinos, do you know how he did it?
He didn't do it with free drinks and meals at his restaurant, free tickets to sporting events at his skyboxes, or golf trips. What those freebies got him was access to the lawmakers and their staff, so he could present a compelling argument.
And what was that compelling argument that killed the bill? He told Republican lawmakers that they should vote against this bill because it was a tax, and Republicans were supposed to be anti-tax fanatics.
It worked, but people who see the documentary won't know that, because Gibney didn't mention it. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you.
Federally recognized Indian tribes are "sovereign nations" and are supposedly exempt from federal and state taxes. But once again, Gibney omitted this spectacular Abramoff triumph from his film.
Although Gibney was well aware that there was bad blood between McCain and Abramoff, he failed to mention this in his film. They all loathed "maverick" John McCain, who at that time touted himself as a moderate Republican.
Secondly, Abramoff had inadvertently funded the notorious and scurrilous "black baby smear" campaign that had helped to sink McCain's presidential bid in the South Carolina Republican primary of February So it could be argued that McCain's investigation of Abramoff was in large measure motivated by a personal vendetta.
Abramoff, however, knew nothing about this phony wire transfer. I asked him if Abramoff had known about this forged wire transfer.
Kidan repeatedly told me that Abramoff knew nothing about it. Since I had told Gibney this fact and since Gibney also interviewed Kidan for the film, I was quite surprised that Gibney did not mention it.
The truth is that Abramoff was intimidated and pressured into pleading guilty, even though he didn't think he was guilty. First, his legal fees were becoming astronomical.
Second, federal prosecutors were threatening to sentence him to 30 years in a maximum-security prison with violent offenders. Abramoff was told, however, that if he agreed to plead guilty to whatever they told him to plead guilty to, his sentence would be reduced to four years and he would do his time it in a cushy prison camp close to home, conveniently allowing his wife and five children to visit him.
Once again, Gibney failed to mention this at all. The Post and McCain contend that Abramoff should have informed his tribal clients that he was getting a "kickback" from Scanlon, whom they hired at Abramoff's behest.
But there is nothing criminal in not informing his clients. And calling it a "kickback" is a misnomer.
In his follow-up to Gonzo , a portrait of rabble-rouser Hunter S. Gibney begins with the Mob-style murder of a one-time associate before backtracking to Abramoff's days as chairman of the College Republicans, where he rubbed shoulders with Karl Rove and Ralph Reed--and impressed Ronald Reagan.
Even as a student, however, there were signs of trouble as he laundered money through charities, a pattern he would repeat throughout the decades, always on the lookout for new loopholes.
Gibney proceeds through his dealings with the Contras, an Angolan dictator, Saipan sweatshops, and Indian casinos the debacle in Angola led him to produce the right-wing shoot-'em-up Red Scorpion.
Along the way, Abramoff ensnared lawmakers and government officials in his web as they traded political favors for campaign financing.
As in his other documentaries, Gibney juices the action with music cues that keep things lively, even if some of his choices are a little too on the nose, like Howlin' Wolf's "Back Door Man.
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Customers who bought this item also bought. The Smartest Guys in the Room. Product Description This portrait of Washington super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, from his early years as a gung-ho member of the GOP political machine to his final reckoning as a disgraced, imprisoned pariah, confirms the adage that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
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Please try again later. This documentary is killer. The story was solid and flowed effortlessly from one episode to the next.
The camera work was good and the info was just a back-to-back ride of jaw-dropping punches. Not overwhelming but you surely won't fall asleep through this one.
I tried watching the fictional version of this afterwards and I could only make it through 20 minutes of that garbage. A very very good film! Prime Video Verified Purchase.
This is a must see regardless of your party. I am a conservative but am by no means fooled.