Saturday, May 27, 2006

Post: 'Conflict of interest' for Duncan campaign aide, Abramoff and MCPS

"A longtime aide to Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan played a key role in the county's leasing of two schools" to a religious school involving crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff while "at the same time he was working as a political adviser and fundraiser for Duncan."

So reports the Washington Post in a front-page May 27 story.

"Jerry Pasternak, a special assistant to Duncan (D), knew lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- a Yeshiva board member in the late 1990s and early 2000s -- from the Orthodox Jewish community and accepted his offer to help raise money for Duncan in 1998, Duncan's gubernatorial campaign manager, Scott Arceneaux, said yesterday," according to the Post.

Arcenaux made the admission after the Post reported on May 26 that Duncan had rigged the leasing and possible sale of public school property at an artificially low price after taking $20,000 from Abramoff-related businesses.

"Pasternak's dual role raises the question of a potential conflict of interest," according to the Post. "He is on leave from his county job while he volunteers on Duncan's gubernatorial campaign."