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As a lobbyist, Jack Abramoff used a lot of techniques to influence lawmakers -- some of which broke the law and landed him in federal prison. One of the more prominent items in his toolbox was Signatures, the upscale restaurant he owned and operated in Washington, D.C - along with two other restaurant businesses. Abramoff joins Kojo to chat about how he used restaurants to manipulate levers of power and his new life as a government reform advocate.
Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff talked about why he felt safe using Signatures, a restaurant located down the street from the FBI headquarters, to manipulate levers of power. Abramoff said at the time he didn't believe he was doing anything wrong or illegal. He said having a "home court" so close to Capitol Hill changed the lobbying dynamic. Abramoff added that he sometimes sent his own car and driver to pick up members of Congress, staffers and other clients who hosted fundraisers in the restaurant's private rooms.
“I think it really smashes a lot of ideas about what the Smithsonian does and what it’s supposed to do,” one curator says of the African-American Museum’s growing collection.