Tom DeLay - Just An Everyday Guy
Yeah, I think the Democrats can run against this next fall. This is what Tom DeLay does while the House and Senate GOP pass more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations and cuts food stamps, student loans, Medicaid, and law enforcement:
As Tom DeLay became a king of campaign fundraising, he lived like one too. He visited cliff-top Caribbean resorts, golf courses designed by PGA champions and four-star restaurants _ all courtesy of donors who bankrolled his political money empire.
Over the past six years, the former House majority leader and his associates have visited places of luxury most Americans have never seen, often getting there aboard corporate jets arranged by lobbyists and other special interests.
Public documents reviewed by The Associated Press tell the story: at least 48 visits to golf clubs and resorts; 100 flights aboard company planes; 200 stays at hotels, many world-class; and 500 meals at restaurants, some averaging nearly $200 for a dinner for two.
Instead of his personal expense, the meals and trips for DeLay and his associates were paid with donations collected by the campaign committees, political action committees and children's charity the Texas Republican created during his rise to the top of Congress. His lawyer says the expenses are part of DeLay's effort to raise money from Republicans and to spread the GOP message.
When DeLay wants to head somewhere without the hassle of commercial travel, he often asks a company for its jet and uses donations to pay for it.
Dozens of businesses have loaned DeLay their planes, from tobacco giants UST, RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris to energy companies like El Paso, Panda, Reliant and Dynegy.
R.J. Reynolds let DeLay use a company plane at least nine times since 1999, once joining Philip Morris in making jets available for a DeLay PAC fundraiser at a Puerto Rican resort in winter 2002. R.J. Reynolds spokesman David Howard said planes are loaned usually at lawmakers' request and are only done if jets aren't needed for company business.
"It's much more convenient as opposed to your regular commercial travel," Howard said, noting there is no need to go through airport security.
Remember those commercials Newt used against Tom Foley back in 1994, showing a congressman getting out a limousine? I think we can do that several times better next year.