Another Abramoff Crony Expected to Plead Guilty

By Jason Ryan And Brian Ross

Apr 23, 2007 6:37pm

Another government official corrupted by lobbyist Jack Abramoff is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to charges he took bribes, including a golf trip to Scotland and $10,000 in cash, Justice Department officials say. Mark Zachares, the former secretary of the Department of Labor and Immigration for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, was named in a criminal information filed in federal court today.  According to the document, Zachares told Abramoff he "really could make things happen" if Abramoff helped get him a job at the Department of Homeland Security. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Photos In the Wake of the Abramoff Scandal Full Coverage The Abramoff Lobbying Scandal Click Here to Check Out Brian Ross Slideshows The documents says Zachares tried to help Abramoff "adjust his business development strategies to build a homeland security lobbying practice that would eventually benefit Zachares when he ultimately joined Abramoff’s firm as a lobbyist." Zachares got to know Abramoff when Abramoff was working for garment manufacturers who opposed changes in the Marianas’ labor laws, which permitted the companies to bring in low-paid women to work making clothing for leading American brands. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. According to the documents, Zachares received from Abramoff "salary enhancements, an overseas trip, meals, drinks, golf and tickets to professional sports events." Zachares was treated to one of Abramoff’s infamous Scotland golf outings in August 2003. Also on the trip, according to prosecutors, was Congressman Tom Feeny, R-Fla., who has not been charged with any crime. The charging document says Zachares provided Abramoff with information about threat assessments which would help him establish himself as a lobbyist dealing with homeland security issues. The fact that Zachares plans to enter a guilty plea suggests he will cooperate in the ongoing investigation of Abramoff and his connections to members of Congress.

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