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Foundation's Funds Diverted From Mission

For all its new wealth, the foundation recorded just two major grants that year. It paid a Web designer $50,510 to create an Internet presence for the Eshkol Academy, and it spent $115,930 on a Judaic studies home-schooling program that Abramoff created.

In 2002 the foundation, which on the Web site listed as its address a mail drop on Pennsylvania Avenue, collected more than $2.56 million from nine donors, including $991,749 from Abramoff. Other major donors, according to tax records, included three Indian tribes and the National Center for Public Policy Research.


Records for GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff's Capital Athletic Foundation show that less than 1 percent of its revenue has been spent on sports-related programs for youths, and federal investigators are looking into how large amounts of money were funneled through the nonprofit group to support Abramoff's interests. (Thomas Butler -- The Hill)


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By that time, the Eshkol Academy had leased office space to use for classes and enrolled several dozen students, some of whom paid annual tuition of more than $12,000. The Capital Athletic Foundation contributed more than $1.85 million to the academy that year, enough to pay a handful of teachers and a dean. The school also bought two Zamboni ice-cleaning machines, even though it did not own a hockey rink.

In 2003, the foundation took in more than $2.15 million, including a $250,000 donation from the National Center for Public Policy Research, a $400,000 donation by Abramoff, a $950,000 donation from Scanlon's consulting firm and a $500,000 donation from the International Interactive Alliance, an Internet casino group that employed Abramoff as a lobbyist, according to tax records. The foundation gave $2.13 million to the Eshkol Academy that year.

E-mails at the time showed Abramoff pushing for more money for his enterprise. He sent an e-mail to Scanlon in February 2003 stating: "Please make sure the next $1M[illion] from Coushatta for me goes to Eshkol Academy directly. Please tell them that we are 'using the school as our conduit for some of activities.' " The e-mail added that "if that won't fly with them, use CAF," referring to the Capital Athletic Foundation, or the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Abramoff repeated the request in e-mails in March and April. The Eshkol Academy "is our front group," the first e-mail said. The second said: "I really need to get those funds into Eshkol asap. Let me know what we have to do."

Scanlon replied in an e-mail, obtained by federal authorities, that he could not direct the money to Eshkol because he did not have any invoices from the school.

Stephen L. Braga, an attorney for Scanlon, confirmed that the request to direct a Coushatta payment to the foundation "was received by Mr. Scanlon's firm" but said "no attempt was made by Mr. Scanlon or anyone at his firm to comply with that request. Furthermore, Mr. Scanlon never made any of the representations to tribal leaders that were suggested." Braga also said that any payment made to the Capital Athletic Foundation by Scanlon's firm in 2003 is "wholly unrelated" to Abramoff's e-mailed requests for money.

Lowell, Abramoff's attorney, did not dispute the e-mails but said whether Abramoff distributed his fees "to charities directly or asked his employers or clients to make charitable contributions on their own, the bottom line is that the money went and was used by legitimate charities for proper charitable purposes."

Major Expenses

A social highlight for the foundation was to have been a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser in March 2003 at the International Spy Museum chaired by Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder and Fox News commentator Tony Snow. Its aim, according to invitations, was to honor James V. Kimsey, the co-founder and former chairman of America Online.

Snyder, Kimsey and Abramoff are all members of the Washington Redskins Leadership Council charity. The Capital Athletic Foundation donated $4,000 to the council in 2002, according to the foundation's tax records. Kimsey's chief of staff, Peter Kirsch, said that to his knowledge the dinner was rescheduled several times and then canceled; Redskins publicist Karl Swanson said that Snyder "lent" his name to the function at Kimsey's request but never attended.

A planner for the event said it was finally held in December. Nothing in the foundation's books indicates that the dinner raised more than a few thousand dollars.

Travel was another major foundation expense, totaling $240,416 in 2001 and 2002, records show. More than half of that was spent in August 2002 on the chartered jet that flew at least six people -- including Abramoff, House Administration Committee Chairman Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), lobbyist and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, and then-General Services Administration chief of staff David Safavian -- to St. Andrews, Scotland, with a stopover in London on the way back.

None of those on the plane would say precisely how they spent their time, although two people confirmed that they played golf in St. Andrews. Ney spokesman Brian J. Walsh said Ney thought the trip's purpose was to raise money for the foundation, but Walsh did not cite any fundraising events.

Noam Neusner, a spokesman for Safavian -- who has been nominated for a senior position at the Office of Management and Budget -- said the trip was "primarily for golfing." "It had no business orientation to it," Neusner said, noting that Safavian paid back $3,100 for his expenses.

Researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.


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