November 18, 2003
Yet another DeLay fundraiser raises yet more eyebrows

Does this guy do anything that doesn't smell funny?

AUSTIN -- On the eve of the federal trial that could enhance Republican congressional power, U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay plans to scoop up re-election cash at an Austin lobby fund-raiser.

The Dec. 10 luncheon is scheduled the day before a three-judge panel begins a trial on the legality of a congressional redistricting map that DeLay, R-Sugar Land, pushed through the Texas Legislature earlier this year.

A dozen Austin lobbyists are hosting the event. Their clients include Verizon Wireless, Accenture management consultants, Waste Control Specialists, the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Association of Realtors.

Wayne Franke, one of the organizers, said it is pure coincidence that the fund-raiser is set for the day before the redistricting trial. And an aide for DeLay said the event's date was set before the trial was scheduled.

"We were going to have it a lot earlier, but the congressional agenda did not cooperate," Franke said.

Franke said Austin lobbyists have hosted a $1,000-per-person luncheon for DeLay each of the past six or seven years. He said the most people who attended was 30, and he believes there were 18 at last year's event.

"Some have business up in Washington, and they go up there quite a bit. And those are the ones who usually participate here," Franke said. "They handle state issues and they handle federal issues. That would be the reason."

Franke said some knew DeLay when he was a member of the Texas House. DeLay was elected to the U.S. House in 1984.

Suzy Woodford, executive director of Common Cause of Texas, said she believes DeLay's appearance in Austin is meant to pressure the federal judges hearing the redistricting case.

"He's not known as 'The Hammer' for no reason," Woodford said, referring to DeLay's nickname in Washington. "If you have an issue pending that you really care about, this is a good way of letting them (the judges) know he's watching."

In the pantheon of DeLay's peccadillos, this one doesn't exactly crack the top ten. And you know, it is a little silly to ascribe evil to everything the man does. We may even be giving him too much power by believing that he's a dark force behind the scenes everywhere. Gaylord Perry once said that it didn't matter if he ever threw a spitball - the fact that batters believed that he did gave him the edge. Maybe we all need to take a deep breath here.

Or maybe not. Paranoids do still have enemies, after all. Best not to take chances.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 18, 2003 to Scandalized! | TrackBack

Am I missing something here?

Someone thinks that three life-tenured federal judges are going to be influenced by the fact that a Congressman has a fundraiser in the state capital on the day before a trial?

I only know one of the judges personally, and he/she keeps a good poker face in public, but I'm quite sure he/she'd laugh uproariously at this suggestion.

I don't doubt that DeLay can influence the Legislature and its members. But if you genuinely think Tom DeLay has some serious clout with federal judges in general, or these federal judges in particular, I think you're just wrong.

Posted by: Beldar on November 18, 2003 5:37 PM