A hot shot Washington DC lobbyist and his protégé go down hard as their schemes to peddle influence lead to corruption and murder.
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Lobbyists are known for being slick, charismatic, fast-talking schemers.But none are good as JACK ABRAMOFF (Kevin Spacey). There’s nothing he won’t do to take care of his gorgeous wife PAM (Kelly Preston) and their beautiful kids. Pam joins Jack’s dad Frank in telling Jack to slow down, to be more careful. But they don’t get it: Jack’s a hustler.
Of course Jack can’t do it all on his own. His protégé, MICHAEL SCANLON (Barry Pepper) carries some of the workload. Scanlon’s young, he likes to party, and he loves money more than Jack does. Scanlon works hard to keep his spoiled fiancée EMILY (Rachelle LeFevre) happy. Their business model is simple. They bribe, they coerce, and they make promises they never intend to keep — and in the end, they always come out on top. They rule Washington DC, control Senators & Congressmen, and influence key decisions of the most powerful country in the World.
Take their latest moneymaking scheme: SunCruz, a line of gambling boats run by GUS BOULIS, a Greek business man with mob ties. Jack wants to buy Gus out. Gus says no. End of story, right? Wrong. Jack calls in a favor or two, and soon Gus finds himself in the middle of a Senate investigation! Meanwhile, Scanlon works with several Indian tribes, helping them to get casinos built on tribal lands. Abramoff’s dealings with the tribes began as a legitimate business relationship – an example of what lobbyists can do to grease the wheels of democracy. But that was years ago, and now it’s a relationship built on distrust and deceit.
Abramoff and Scanlon fleece the tribes for their money, and over bill them for their work. Of course all of this is done right under the nose of Senators and Congressmen – people of power and influence who turn the other way because Jack’s raises political capital for them.
It all comes crashing down when Jack’s sleazy friend ADAM KIDAN (Jon Lovitz) gets involved in the SunCruz deal. Pam warns Jack that Kidan can’t be trusted, but he doesn’t listen. Soon, the Boulis gets whacked, and Jack finds himself connected to a murder investigation. At the same time, the Indian tribes grow wise to his schemes, and they talk to the press, leading to the biggest US Political scandal since Watergate. When the scandal hits the papers and the news networks, Jack has nowhere to turn. The influential friends? They deny ever knowing him. Even Scanlon turns on him, proving there’s no room for loyalty in the high stakes world of political corruption.
Through it all, Pam remains his love and his good conscience to the end, the partner in life of a man who used and abused the American system. Loosely based on a true story, BAGMAN examines a flawed and easily corrupted system of political influence, and shows that when our politicians are for sale, our democracy is fragile and virtually non-existent. The intersts of large corporations and influential groups take precedence over the interests of the American people. Director George Hickenlooper brings the story to life with an all-star ensemble cast, headed by two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey.