When federal prosecutors charged Jack Abramoff on Thursday with an illicit conspiracy to promote a cryptocurrency, they alleged that the disgraced lobbyist hired writers to help him with his scheme. The indictment did not name names. But new court documents point squarely to an employee of The Daily Caller and other conservative media outlets.
Abramoff, who served almost four years in prison for his wide-ranging Washington influence peddling schemes, found himself in legal hot water again this week for his attempts to promote AML Bitcoin, a supposedly “anti-money laundering” cryptocurrency created by Texan businessman Marcus Andrade.
As part of his duties, Abramoff handled promotion for AML Bitcoin and—according to the indictment—secretly arranged payments for writers at several websites to promote the digital coin and its capabilities.
“Abramoff recruited and paid writers to publish and disseminate, under those writers’ names, written articles touting AML Bitcoin specifically, as well as to tout the idea of a cryptocurrency that would be fully compliant with [anti-money-laundering] and [know-your-customer] laws and regulations,” the Abramoff indictment reads. “These articles were published as opinion editorials or ‘op-eds’ on well-known news and financial websites. The recruited writers did not disclose in the published piece that they had been paid by Abramoff or AML Bitcoin to disseminate in the information in the article.”
In a related complaint filed against Andrade and his company, NAC Foundation, SEC attorneys alleged that Abramoff arranged for the publication of articles and even secretly wrote some of them himself, in a bid to exaggerate AML Bitcoin’s technical abilities and fool investors. That complaint also provided some clear breadcrumbs leading back to the Daily Caller as being among the outlets that ran with material paid for by Abramoff and his associates.
As part of their plans to promote AML Bitcoin, Abramoff and Andrade had allegedly cooked up what prosecutors call a “false rejection plan” to claim that the NFL and NBC had refused to air a Super Bowl ad for the coin that mocked North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.