November 14, 2003
Tom DeLay exploits children for political contributions

Criminy. There's just no end to the ways that Tom DeLay will go to raise money in secret and in avoidance of campaign finance laws. Now he's using charity as a cover.

It is an unusual charity brochure: a 13-page document, complete with pictures of fireworks and a golf course, that invites potential wealthy donors to give as much as $500,000 to spend time with Rep. Tom DeLay during the 2004 Republican convention in New York City -- and to have part of the money go to help abused and neglected children.

DeLay, R-Sugar Land, the House majority leader, has both done work for troubled children and drawn criticism for his aggressive political fund-raising across his career in Congress. He said through his staff that the entire effort is fundamentally aimed at helping children.

But aides to DeLay acknowledged that a portion of the money will go to pay for late-night convention parties, a luxury suite during President Bush's speech at Madison Square Garden and yacht cruises.

So campaign finance watchdogs say DeLay's effort can be seen as a creative maneuver around the recently enacted law meant to limit the ability of federal officials to raise large donations known as soft money.

"They are using the idea of helping children as a blatant cover for financing activities in connection with a convention with huge unlimited, undisclosed, unregulated contributions," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a Washington-based group that helped push through the recent overhaul of the campaign finance laws.

And other lawmakers may well follow DeLay's lead. Already Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Senate majority leader, is planning to hold a concert and a reception in conjunction with the convention as a way of raising funds for AIDS charities.

DeLay's charity, Celebrations for Children Inc., was set up in September and has no track record of work. DeLay is not a formal official of the charity, but its managers are DeLay's daughter, Dani DeLay Ferro; Craig Richardson, a longtime adviser; and Rob Jennings, a Republican fund-raiser. Richardson said the managers would be paid by the new charity.

Richardson said the goal was to give 75 percent of the money it raises to children's charities, including some in the New York area. He said the charity also planned to stage events at the Super Bowl.

But because the money collected will go into a nonprofit organization, donors get a tax break. And DeLay will never have to publicly account for who contributed, which campaign finance experts say shields those who may be trying to win favor with one of the most powerful lawmakers in Washington.

Richardson dismissed such criticism. He said that every convention has parties and that by doing this DeLay was giving some money to worthy causes. He said that DeLay has a long record of providing money to neglected children through his own Houston-based DeLay Foundation for Kids.

Emphasis mine. Words utterly and thoroughly fail me.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 14, 2003 to Scandalized! | TrackBack

I was discussing the LA election with a friend last night (Blando is a terrible candidate) and Tommie Boy came up.

We decided if Tom is vulnerable, it will be due to two things. First, he's hacked off a goodly segment of the Houston business community. Secondly, there is the perception his office is for sale.

Morrison must hammer this latter issue constantly and loudly. Tom is dirty and the campaign is going to be dirty.

Kuff pointed out Tom got 61-38 against no credible oppo. This is vulnerable.

Posted by: Charles M on November 14, 2003 11:21 AM

"perception his office (Tom DeLay's) is for sale" Uh, come again, perception? This guy's actions have been frequently documented, how about for starters or try a Google search for "Westar & DeLay"... The ugliest thing for me about his new "charity" is that political contributions to him will now be TAX DEDUCTIBLE. Can you say "money laundering"?
It's time IMHO to find a credible candidate to oppose Mr. DeLay in 2004, preferably a military veteran who has seen combat. True, it will be a very vicious, ugly campaign, but if our guy has a clean background w/no ugly skeletons in the closet, every bit of mud Mr. DeLay can throw will come back to Mr. DeLay & stick. The guy is a bully, a loudmouth, and is as dirty as they come plus thanks in no small part to his big mouth, he is on record of boasting about a number of his “accomplishments” in the field of political sleaze. Time for this guy to go back to killing bugs!

Posted by: darms on November 14, 2003 1:48 PM

It's time IMHO to find a credible candidate to oppose Mr. DeLay in 2004, preferably a military veteran who has seen combat.

Take a moment and check out Richard Morrison, who is running against DeLay in 2004. If you want to help him be a credible candidate, consider donating to his campaign.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 14, 2003 2:13 PM

Uh, Darms....

I probably hate DeLay more than you do. I just have an unfortunate tendency to use the polite speech of Lefties instead of stating the case as you did.

Posted by: Charles M on November 14, 2003 2:41 PM

National Journal - House Race Hotline
Friday, November 14, 2003


DELAY A Model Politician?

     '04 Dem challenger Richard Morrison on 11/13 "launched two innovative
Web sites to signal" his candidacy for DeLay's seat. "features" info about Morrison and
"invites voters to join his campaign. The second site is Atty Morrison is a "seasoned advocate for
environmental and consumer rights" (release, 11/13).

Posted by: deny delay on November 14, 2003 3:26 PM

Anyone want to take bets on Mr. Morrison vs. Mr.

I'm willing to accept ANY odds. I'll still be making money.

Posted by: Another Rice Grad on November 15, 2003 2:39 PM

Sorry, that sounds a little snarky. I didn't really mean it to be. But my point remains: DeLay has a safe Republican seat. I'd love it if you'd give me money in the form of a bet. ;)

The Chronicle already hates DeLay and has hostile coverage of him. It couldn't get worse on that front, and yet he still wins re-election by large margins.

Posted by: Another Rice Grad on November 15, 2003 2:42 PM

I agree that DeLay has little reason to be afraid. However, as a Democrat, I firmly believe in lost causes. :-)

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 15, 2003 2:52 PM

So, Charles, a question. What does DeLay do for Sugar Land that makes him so appealing? I keep wondering why people continue to elect and re-elect the DeLays and Santorums of the world. (My congressperson and Senators are beyond reproach, of course...grins).

Posted by: Linkmeister on November 15, 2003 4:24 PM

Linkmeister, the best I can tell you is that DeLay shares a lot of values with the people of Sugar Land, many of whom are conservative Christians who have antipathy to urban areas. I believe that the demographics of places like that are slowly changing, and will eventually catch up to the DeLays of the world, but as with Hispanics as the saviors of the Democratic Party, it ain't gonna happen any time soon without some hard work.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 17, 2003 7:54 AM