One of his greatest faults, he explains in a bit of false modesty, was that he was giving away too much money to charity while he was raking in funds from competing Native American tribes and taking money on the side for his consulting work with business partner Mike Scanlon in an arrangement he did not disclose to his clients (pp. 166, 193).
At many points in the book, Abramoff describes himself in the best possible light. He downplays his business prowess in explaining his questionable SunCruz dealings with Adam Kidan (p. 138). He further says that it “never occurred to us” that his use of a nonprofit organization to launder funds from Native American tribes to himself and Scanlon was illegal (p. 190). He even hedges on the main charge of self-dealing with the tribes:
I neglected to tell my clients how much I was profiting from these grassroots efforts. I reasoned that the tribes and clients were happy with their victories, that our efforts were priced in accordance with their value and that they were paying what they agreed to pay to stop threats they identified to us, after proper fee negotiations. Plus, I wasn’t even keeping the money I made anyway. I was giving away upwards of 80 percent ofmy income for good causes and to help people. What could possibly be wrong with any of this? (p. 193)