A federal grand jury has subpoenaed payroll records from the House for Ed Buckham, former chief of staff to ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).
The subpoena, issued by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., is the first formal notification that Buckham is the focus of a federal corruption probe by the Justice Department. The subpoena was sent to Daniel Beard, chief administrative officer for the House, and formally read into the Congressional Record this afternoon, although Buckham was not mentioned in the official notification.
Buckham served as DeLay's chief of staff before leaving to become a lobbyist. He had extensive dealings with now imprisoned GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and a former buiness associate Tony Rudy - also a former DeLay aide - has already pleaded guilty to accepting payments from Abramoff's clients while working for DeLay. The gifts, including payments to Rudy's wife, were in exchange for helping Abramoff and his clients with legislative matters, according to Rudy's plea agreement with DOJ.
Rudy also pleaded guilty to violating the one-year ban for former senior aides to approach their former bosses as lobbyists. It is unclear if the Justice Department is pursuing the same allegation against Buckham. Neil Volz, ex-chief of staff to imprisoned former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), pleaded guilty to same charge as well.
Buckham, an ordained minister, remained very close to DeLay after he left the Texas Republican's staff, advising DeLay on numerous political and legislative matters.