Cross-Currents Co-Founder Snared In Abramoff Scandal

Cross-Currents co-founder Jeff Ballabon has been snared in the ever-widening Jack Abramoff scandal:

…The report said Jeffrey Ballabon, then executive vp of public affairs for Channel One, wrote in January 1999 to Abramoff and to another lobbyist at the firm Preston Gates, where Abramoff worked, asking for support for arguments that Channel One saves tax dollars. Ballabon suggested favorable treatment by Abramoff associate and well-known conservative Grover Norquist, and by month’s end The Washington Times had published a favorable op-ed under Norquist’s byline, the report said.

Days later Abramoff in an e-mail to Ballabon suggested payment to Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform, according to the Senate report. In April, Abramoff suggested a $3,000 payment to Americans for Tax Reform as the price for a policy brief the group wrote portraying Channel One as a tax-saving service, according to the Senate report.

In May 1999, Abramoff wrote to Ballabon suggesting “5 pieces for $10K,” referring to payment for favorable op-ed and think-tank treatments of Channel One. According to the Senate report, Ballabon responded: “yup—I have not forgotten (was it $10?—I wrote it down—whatever it was, she’ll get it.”)

In a later e-mail exchange, the two discussed payment of $49,000 “to support public programs,” according to the Senate report.

Ballabon left Primedia in 2004, the company said.…

I noticed Ballabon is no longer listed on the CC masthead. When did he leave CC? Why? And why the deafening silence from Rabbi Yakov Menken and the CC bloggers?

More importantly, will Ballabon go down with Abramoff and Lapin? And, is there any way we could link Toby Katz to this? Please?


Filed under Crime, Haredim, Jewish Leadership

7 responses to “Cross-Currents Co-Founder Snared In Abramoff Scandal

  1. Good catch.

    I hadn’t had a chance to post a comment on this in your previous post. But Jeff Ballabon is not the only Cross-Current contributor to disappear. Marvin Schick and Nosson Scherman have also disappeared.


    I cannot state the reasons for their disappearance, but perhaps they have spoken to some of the rabbonim, now confirming the history of Menken.

  2. As I posted at the genesis of the cross-currents blog, the purpose, the original goal of the cross-currents blog and the purposes of the unnamed rabbonim in Baltimore that were originally behind it (although unnamed, it is fairly clear who they include) were quite clear:

    Fortunately, these unnamed rabbonim picked a poor patsy in Menken for their goals.

    Now that revelations about Menken are becoming clear, perhaps those with some intellegence are jumping ship.

    As I’ve said:
    What Luke has written about Menken has been confirmed by those you would call gedolei Baltimore. Menken has admitted his conduct to them privately. The full details of his conduct have been fully confirmed to me.

  3. Feel free to contact gedolei Baltimore and ask them if your young daughter should work for Menken. Better yet, get it in writting that he is fit.

    Feel free to contact Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer directly:

    Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer
    Shearith Yisrael (Glen Ave. Shul)
    410-367-9183 fax

    Based on what I can confirm, Menken is unfit to do kiruv, to counsel women and in my opinion unfit to hold the title Rabbi.

  4. These unnamed rabbonim in Baltimore who initially backed Cross-Currents and gave Menken permission to publicly go after Gary Rosenblatt and the Awareness Center are the same rabbonim who backed/protected:

    1) Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau
    2) Rabbi Matis Weinberg
    3) Rabbi Mordecai Tendler
    4) Rabbi Benyamin Yaakov Fleischman
    5) Samuel (Shmuel) Juravel
    6) Rabbi Moshe Eisemann

    and many others.


    For all their efforts, they were unsuccessful as other blogs rose and prospered, such as UOJ which exposed Rabbi Moshe Eisemann, and Cross-Currents became mostly an irrelevant joke.

  5. Luke has a profile on Ballabon:

    >And, is there any way we could link Toby Katz to
    >this? Please?

    As annoying as Katz is, facists that use violence to achieve their ends, like Cross-Currents Shira Schmidt’s group are actually dangereous:


    Sadly, this month’s service ended in an ugly scene of physical and verbal abuse. Shira Leibowitz Schmidt, who was present at the appeal in the Supreme Court the week before, came all the way from her home in Netanya to incite a riot against us so that she could prove Raday wrong.

    The scene of elderly haredi women yelling obscenities and ignorant statements about women and Jewish law, grabbing our Torah scroll, and even physically attacking our group as we tried to pray, was a tragic one for the Jewish people.

  6. DK

    Abramoff really has the Midas Touch!

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