Friday :: Mar 5, 2004

Tom DeLay's Connections Starting to Stink


by Mary

Not too long ago I gave an update on the Republican scandals swirling the White House (Plame) and the Senate (purloined documents) and thought that this was all good news, but it would be nice if we could have some investigations/scandals swirling around Tom DeLay.

Rejoice, rejoice. Tom DeLay is not just facing one investigation into his corrupt practices, but two. In Texas, he is struggling to extricate himself from the investigations about exactly who helped back the "redistricting" power grab and the 2002 elections. The Houston Chronicle describes DeLay's problem as he might have stumbled over an OLD law. One of funnier parts of this story is the complaint that the law has almost never been applied before. Well, that shouldn't stop a vigorous prosecution, since it seems that perfectly sensible considering that Ashcroft can persecute Greenpeace for an anti-pirating law from 1872.

Nationally, Tom DeLay's practice of telling corporations to only donate to Republicans (if they know what's good for them) and to use specially connected firms (like his friends) to lobby Congress is getting exposed to the bright light of day. In fact, John McCain is urging a vigorous investigation into whether the amount of money used to lobby public officials is excessive or might have even tipped into the extortion range (this seems to be a problem with lobbying associations associated with DeLay!). In this case, DeLay was a fine mentor for Washington lobbyist, Jack Abramoff (a former staff member) who showed his clients how to bestow money on Republican businesses whether or not the business could or would help present their case before congress.

The Washington Post last week reported four Indian tribes had paid more than $45 million to the two companies for lobbying and public relations, far more than most major corporations spend on lobbying.

The Post stories did not name Sandia Pueblo.

Paisano said he was "shocked" by some of the fees reported in the story.

The Post stories resulted in a promise of an investigation by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, into whether Indian tribes are being charged too much.

Paisano said he was persuaded to switch from the Smith-Free lobbying firm in 2002 because of Greenberg Traurig's strong ties to the House Republican leadership and successes representing other Indian tribes.

Greenberg Traurig lobbyist Jack Abramoff was executive director of President Reagan's grass-roots lobbying organization, Citizens for America, in 1985. Capital Campaign Strategies is headed by Michael Scanlon, a former aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

The Texas newspapers are full of stories about how DeLay is caught in the cross-hairs of the investigations, including this one that makes the point that if not for DeLay's partisan greed, he would still be killing bugs in Texas. Can we really be looking forward to the Hammer finding bugs to kill in a new location: jail? Gosh, we can only hope.

Mary :: 12:49 AM :: Comments (4) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!