July 09, 2006
Bye-bye, OSFR?

Vince was the first to pick up on the story that the the state's Sunset Advisory Committee had recommended that the Office of State and Federal Relations be shut down. It's since been picked up by the newspapers.

The state agency that is paying two lobbyists with ties to indicted Washington operative Jack Abramoff and embattled former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay should be abolished and have its duties turned over to the governor's office, the commission that evaluates the effectiveness of state government operations said Thursday.

The Office of State-Federal Relations, which is charged with watching out for Texas interests in Washington, came under fire from Democrats this year amid reports that Todd Boulanger and Drew Maloney were each being paid $180,000 by the state.

Maloney is a former chief of staff to DeLay, who has resigned from Congress and is under felony indictment in Texas in connection with 2002 political fundraising. Boulanger has worked in some of the same lobbying firms as Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion and agreed to testify about members of Congress who are suspected of corruption.

The state's Sunset Advisory Commission said in its report that the contract with the two lobbyists should be more closely supervised. A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, who backed the 2003 initiative that turned much of the state-federal relations office over to private contractors, said the governor backs the recommendations.

I've written about the OFSR and Drew Maloney several times before, but to save you some clicking, Josh Marshall has a pretty good summary of the whole thing. Well, he doesn't go into how Carole Strayhorn eventually injected herself into this and suspended some payments by the state to the lobbying firms but not all of them - you'll have to click on my first two links for that.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 09, 2006 to That's our Lege | TrackBack