March 20, 2005
Some Sunday DeLay stories

Just a few links for a lazy Sunday...

Is Tom DeLay approaching a tipping point?

More trouble for DeLay's buddy Jack Abramoff.

The Senate Finance Committee is investigating the activities of a tax-exempt foundation controlled by Jack Abramoff, a powerful Washington lobbyist and former movie producer who represented the tribe, and his wife.

Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, a former press secretary to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, were working in 2002 to get Congress to pass legislation that would have allowed the Tiguas' Speaking Rock Casino to reopen.

Last year, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee uncovered e-mails detailing how Abramoff funneled money through his foundation to pay for activities that congressional rules prohibit lobbyists from paying for directly.

Now the Senate finance panel is questioning whether the foundation is legitimately tax-exempt.

In a letter dated March 16, the finance committee chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked Abramoff's Capital Athletic Foundation to explain why it solicited contributions from Indian tribal governments and "why should they not be deemed payments for attempts to influence Federal and state laws and regulations regarding gaming."

Among the documents being sought by the panel are travel records about a 2002 golfing trip to Scotland by Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio.

Bob Ney has been in the DCCC's crosshairs recently. Conveying the message that DeLayism goes beyond DeLay himself is going to be important for 2006.

Speaking of the DCCC, they keep the stories and editorials coming: US News retells the Peter Cloeren saga, the Denver Post notes how conveeeeeenient it is for DeLay to want to tell his side of the Korea travel story to the Ethics Committee now, the Post-Dispatch wonders when the rats will start to abandon the sinking ship, and on and on.

Molly Ivins explains how DeLay is "writing a new chapter on dirty".

Finally, the Chron reviews the latest document releases in the TRMPAC case.

Violations of campaign law are notoriously hard to prove. The public often finds the complicated cash transfers between political action committees and candidates eye-glazing. Yet the matters being investigated in Austin are particularly grave. Delay's associates and supporters used corporate cash to win control of a legislative body the very result that Texas law was enacted to prevent. The powerful influence of the corporate campaign donors can be seen clearly as the Legislature considers bills to ease corporate responsibility while reducing individuals' access to the courts.

DeLay claims he was not involved in the day-to-day operations of Texans for a Republican Majority, which raised and spent the corporate cash. But common sense argues that DeLay called the shots from Washington. He was the one who set in motion the complicated machinery that used corporate cash to ensure GOP victory. It was not the work of free-lancing subordinates.

DeLay and others might be able to make the case that what they did fell narrowly within the law banning corporate campaign donations. But leaders should not mimic the drunk driver who thinks it is OK for him to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.799999, just under the legal limit of 0.8.

In her column, Ivins wrote that the Chron "has been vigilant about tracking [DeLay's] lapses". I don't fully agree with that. They've been good on the editorializing, but they've been regularly scooped by the LA Times, the Washington Post, and the NY Times. They could definitely be a stronger participant in this.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 20, 2005 to Scandalized! | TrackBack