Jack Abramoff has a new job.
The disgraced superlobbyist debuted last month as a talk-radio host on XM Satellite Radio. It’s just part-time for now — 5 to 8 p.m. on Sundays — but who knows what lies ahead?
“The hope in radio is to build an audience over a number of years,” Abramoff told us Thursday, “a slow build to see if something works.”
Which leads to something many have wondered: How is Jack Abramoff making a living, post-prison? Mostly, it seems, by telling the story of Jack Abramoff, repentent dirty lobbyist.
“I support myself by public speaking and trying to work on as many appropriate and legitimate ventures as I can,” he said. There was also a book, “Capitol Punishment,” decrying the corruption of Washington’s revolving-door culture. And that brief stint at a pizzeria during his halfway house months. But no, a part-time radio gig does not pay much.
“I don’t make the kind of money that I used to,” he said. And he still owes millions in restitution to scammed clients.
“Every dollar I make and virtually every dollar I spend is supervised, and they take a hefty chunk,” he explained.
Radio is not an entirely new thing for Abramoff. During law school in the ’80s, he co-hosted a “Crossfire”-style political show that was nationally syndicated to college radio stations, he said. While promoting his book last fall, he made the rounds of about 300 talk shows, he said, which put him on the radar of producers at Premiere Networks. His new show is on its “Talk Radio” channel (where weekdays feature both conservative Glenn Beck and liberal Randi Rhodes). Topics thus far have run the gamut, he said — lobbying, health care reform, taxes, foreign policy, Beltway corruption, even the deaths of Andy Griffith and Ernest Borgnine.
As one of the most reviled figures in recent political history, he must get some pretty angry on-air phone calls, no?
“People are polite,” he said. “I’m sure there are people who went to vent. The show’s not really for people who want to rage. But if people have legitimate questions, I’m going to answer it.”
Read earlier: Jack Abramoff bid at country club protested: Will he ever play golf in this town again?, 6/6/12
Also in The Reliable Source: