January 17, 2006

That's All, Jack?

According to an investigative piece in the Justice, Jack Abramoff over the years has donated a whopping $50 to Brandeis University, his alma mater (and mine). As a result, the 'deis likely ranks about #52,695 on the list of recipients of Casino Jack's largesse.

Should Brandeis be happy or sad about this news? On the one hand, it's a bit embarrassing that one of their most famous and wealthy alumni has given them next to nothing over the years, but the other hand, they're barely nicked by the taint of his illicit cash, and had he been a big donor they'd likely have to give back large sums of money, and they'd have to hit me up for donations 50 times a year rather than just 40.

Then again, the Non-Sectarian Jewish-Sponsored House of Social Justice tends to frown upon anyone with GOP registration, especially if they're good buddies with Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, and Ralph Reed.

By the way, I saw an aunt of my girlfriend's over the weekend, a 'deis alum from the same time period, and asked if she had known Abramoff. She said no, but she had once worked at a law firm with (and had a crush on) Scooter Libby.

UPDATE: The New Republic's blog, The Plank, picks up the story, thanks to a mysterious loyal reader named "S.S.":

What's extra-funny here is the way school officials feel compelled to explain that they weren't influenced in any way, even by such a piddling sum... Imagine how incredibly awkward it would be if, say, the $10 million Jack Abramoff Center for Hebrew Studies were presently under construction.
In that case, they'd just name it Shapiro, like the other eight buildings on campus by that name.

UPDATE II: More on Abramoff's college years, from the Boston Globe:

Long before he became a Washington lobbyist and convicted felon, he was a freshman at Brandeis University with a 1976 Mercury Cougar and a taste for blasting Queen's ''We Are The Champions" on his all-male hall.

Jack Abramoff, class of '81, resident of Deroy Hall, hated David Bowie, loved ice cream, and was always up for a trip to TGI Friday's on Newbury Street. Stocky and tan, he favored sweat pants and baseball caps.

My freshman hall was the next building over, and we substituted Dave Matthews Band's "Crash" album and the "Rent" soundtrack for Queen. But the rest sounds right.

Posted by Stephen Silver at January 17, 2006 04:24 PM

I liked this quote from the Globe article:

In the fall of 1977, Abramoff, a recent adherent to Orthodox Judaism and son of a wealthy businessman, arrived at Brandeis, with the campus roiling.

That begs the question ... when is the 'deis campus ever not "roiling"?

Posted by: LilB at January 17, 2006 11:07 PM
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