Team Abramoff

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"Team Abramoff" is the team of lobbyists assembled by Jack Abramoff when he worked at Greenberg Traurig, primarily of former aides to prominent Congressional politicians. Their work is embroiled in the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal and the monetary influence of Jack Abramoff.

On January 8, 2001, Abramoff left Preston Gates & Ellis to join the Government Relations division of the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, which once described him as "directly involved in the Republican party and conservative movement leadership structures" and "one of the leading fund raisers for the party and its congressional candidates." With the move to Greenberg Traurig Abramoff took as much as $6 million worth of client "work" from his old firm, including the Marianas Islands account. When asked in an interview why he moved to Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff replied "they have a dominant presence … This move is an excellent opportunity for me and my clients with the new Administration." [1]

At Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff assembled a "dream team" made up of lobbyists with past jobs working for congressional leaders. This team included Tony Rudy, whom Abramoff had worked extensively with during the Marianas and eLottery lobbying while Rudy was serving as Chief of Staff to Tom Delay. Abramoff had hired Rudy while he was still at Preston Gates, and brought him and six other staff lobbyists over to Greenberg Traurig. The hiring of Rudy was one of the first instances in a pattern by which Abramoff would directly hire aides of representatives he was actively lobbying.

Team Abramoff members Rudy and Neil Volz, Bob Ney's former chief of staff, were later named as unindicted coconspirators in Abramoff's guilty plea in the Indian lobbying scandal. In addition, Kevin Ring, Jon van Horne, Michael Smith and Stephanie Leger received secret side payments from Abramoff counter to Greenberg Traurig policy and were asked to resign.[2] Van Horne received $20,000 from the Coushatta Tribe via Capitol Campaign Strategies. Smith also received a $20,000 payoff from CCS. Shana Tesler's husband Samuel Hook received $20,000 from Abramoff for serving as the titular head of Abramoff entities such as Eshkol Academy and Grassroots Interactive.

Rudy pleaded guilty to conspiracy for corruption and fraud on March 31, 2006. Volz pleaded guilty to conspiracy for corruption and fraud on May 8, 2006.

"Team Abramoff"
Name Former Position Post-Abramoff
As of March 2001
Michelle Diedrick
Shawn Vasell aide to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) Greenberg Traurig in 2003
Tony C. Rudy Chief of Staff to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) Alexander Strategy Group
Alan Slomowitz Chief of Staff to Rep. Robert Borski (D-PA)
Todd Boulanger aide to former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) Cassidy & Associates Inc.
Amy Berger aide to Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV)
Padgett Wilson aide to Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-GA), Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) Georgia’s Federal Affairs Director (lobbyist for the state)
Sara Rizzo
Kevin A. Ring aide to Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) and Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Julie Plocki
Susan Ralston Assistant to Karl Rove and George W. Bush
Jon W. van Horne Founded VHT Law PLLC with Shana Tesler
Per Washington Post [1]
Edward P. Ayoob Aide to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Will Brooke Aide to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Linsey Crisler
Duane R. Gibson Aide to Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Shana Tesler (Hook) Clinton White House official Founded VHT PLLC with Jon W. van Horne
James Forrest Miller
Brigham Pierce Aide to Rep. Jim Santini (D-NV)
Ronald L. Platt Aide to Sen. Lloyd M. Bentsen (D-TX)
Stephanie Leger Short Aide to Sen. John Breaux (D-LA) Louisiana's Director of State/Federal Relations (lobbyist for the state)
Michael D. Smith worked for Gore-Lieberman 2000 campaign Cornerstone Government Affairs
Neil Volz Chief of Staff to Rep. Robert Ney (R-OH) Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Michael E. Williams NRA lobbyist

Boldface names have pleaded guilty or are identified in the criminal indictments/plea documents.


  1. ^ "The Buzz - Congressional Staffer News from The Hill and Around the Nation". March 28, 2001. Archived from the original on April 27, 2001. 
  2. ^ "Greenberg Traurig Executive Describes Misconduct by Abramoff, Other Lobbyists". Daily Business Review. November 17, 2005. 

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