The crimes of conservative superlobbyist Jack Abramoff are already receding into the hopeless murk of congressional history, so this epic documentary by Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
) is even more welcome for its reach. Gibney opens with a quick summary of the 2005 scandal that brought Abramoff down (he pled guilty to conspiring to bribe congressmen and to defrauding Native American tribes as he represented their gambling interests) but then leaps back to the early years of the Reagan revolution, when Abramoff was a prominent College Republican palling around with fellow conservative rebels and future power brokers Ralph Reed (of the Christian Coalition) and Grover Norquist (of Americans for Tax Reform). As Gibney follows Abramoff through the decades, he traces a solid line from Reagan’s mantra of deregulation to the financial collapse of 2008, showing how three decades of procapitalist lobbying have pushed most Americans out into the cold.
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Commercial success wasn't in the cards for a documentary on corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Will a new drama fare better?