May 07, 2006
In email veritas

Didn't manage to get to this yesterday, but (surprise!) email evidence has turned up that links Tom DeLay more tightly to his buddy, Jack Abramoff.

Prosecutors have e-mails showing Rep. Tom DeLay's office knew lobbyist Jack Abramoff had arranged the financing for the GOP leader's controversial European golfing trip in 2000 and was concerned "if someone starts asking questions."

House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting free trips from lobbyists. DeLay, R-Texas, reported to Congress that a Republican advocacy group had paid for the spring 2000 trip that DeLay, his wife and top aides took to Scotland and England.

The e-mails obtained by The Associated Press show DeLay's staff asked Abramoff — not the advocacy group — to account for the costs that had to be legally disclosed on congressional travel forms. DeLay's office was worried the group being cited as paying the costs might not even know about them, the e-mails state.

Abramoff's team sought to low-ball the cost estimates and DeLay's office ultimately reported to Congress a total that was a few thousand dollars lower than the one the lobbyist provided, the documents show.

"We should give them the most minimal numbers for cost of the hotel (do not include golf), food and plays," Abramoff wrote two assistants at his Preston Gates lobbying firm in an e-mail from June 29, 2000. One of those assistants, Susan Ralston, now works for top White House adviser Karl Rove.

In a follow-up e-mail to Abramoff, Ralston reported she talked to DeLay's then-deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, who suggested numbers that could be used as cost figures on the congressional travel report. Rudy had gone on the trip with his boss.

"Tony said: $6,800 for flights per person. $300 per night for hotel, $120 per day per person for meals, $500 per day for transportation," Ralston wrote Abramoff. Abramoff's credit card bill shows some costs were higher.

That would be admitted felon Tony Rudy doing all of that creative accounting for his boss. Once again the question is, did DeLay really have no idea at all that his most senior staff were so thoroughly disregarding the law, especially in a case like this where it was directly for his benefit and not their enrichment? I for one have a very hard time believing that DeLay was that casual about the details of his office management.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 07, 2006 to Scandalized! | TrackBack

It also appears that Rove's current aide, Ralston, may be complicit in the provision of low-balled numbers designed to cover up the facts.

What's with the penchant for this faith-based President for hiring people with questionable pasts? At this rate, I'm guessing his next appointee will either be the ghost of Spiro Agnew or Duke Cunningham's favorite hooker.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on May 7, 2006 9:52 AM


I really need to stop by more often. If nothing else, I need to create more spectacles like the one I'm about to create.

Kuff, you were too easy on DeLay. Prosecutors are involved. The Feds wouldn't mess around with poor management skills. You're going to get what you want. Focus on the prosecutors.

Posted by: Greg in TX22 on May 8, 2006 8:24 PM