On Friday, May 7, 2010, theatergoers will be able to see former Governor Bob Ehrlich’s film debut in Academy Award winning director Alex Gibney’s new film Casino Jack and the United States of Money, a documentary featuring the bribery and fraud of convicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
The connection between Ehrlich and Abramoff, now serving a 4-year prison sentence, runs deep. Ehrlich faced criticism while governor for hosting Abramoff at a Hanukkah party at the State House, and accepting $16,000 in campaign contributions from the disgraced lobbyist. So, it isn’t a surprise that Ehrlich turned up in the movie’s trailer, grinning ear to ear with Abramoff. (Ehrlich appears at the 2:13 mark)
Ehrlich is also closely linked to Abramoff through his deputy chief of staff, Ed Miller. Miller founded Grassroots Interactive, a company that, according to congressional testimony and documents in the federal case against Abramoff, was used by the lobbyist to launder funds. Despite Miller’s role in the scandal, Ehrlich supported him and refused calls to dismiss Miller. Neither Ehrlich nor Miller has ever publicly explained what Miller’s role was in the Abramoff scandal or what testimony he provided to federal authorities. When Ehrlich founded the Baltimore office of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, he brought Abramoff associate Miller with him.
Bob Ehrlich is the head of a lobbying firm with ties to Jack Abramoff so it’s fitting that Ehrlich would make his film debut in a documentary about the convicted super-lobbyist. Casino Jack and Lobbyist Bob, the cell-blockbuster of the year.