The powerful House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay (R-TX) is off to the funeral of Pope John Paul II. But politics as he knows it may be forever changed by the time he returns. Corruption scandals have been closing in on Mr. DeLay, who has been clinging desperately to ebbing power. Prior to her death, he even compared his situation to that of Terri Schiavo.
Now there are stories on the news wires today summarizing new examples sleazy dealings by Mr. DeLay.
The Dallas Morning News (subscription) picked up the story that DeLay’s wife and daughter received more than a half million dollars in “unusually generous” payments since 2001 by Mr. DeLay’s PACs and campaign, from the New York Times, which reviewed documents on file with the Federal Election Commission, and other records in Texas. The article continues: “Most of the payments… were described in the disclosure forms as “fundraising fees,” “campaign management” or “payroll,” with no additional details about how they earned the money. The payments appear to reflect what Mr. DeLay’s aides say is the central role played by the majority leader’s wife and daughter in his political career.”
The Houston Chronicle, DeLay’s hometown paper, reprinted a separate investigative piece from The Washington Post which reported “that a six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by Mr. DeLay was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements.”
This is the third such trip that has surfaced allegations of having been bankrolled “directly or indirectly” by lobbyists or foreign agents.
Mr. DeLay apparently misreported that the trip was sponsored by a Washington-based nonprofit organization. But the Post learned that the trip was actually underwritten by “a mysterious company, Chelsea Commercial Enterprises Ltd., which was registered in the Bahamas and also paid for an intensive $440,000 lobbying campaign.” The cost for the trip for DeLay and four others was reportedly $57,238.
While on the trip, DeLay dined with the Russian executives and lobbyists for Chelsea, one of whom was Jack Abramoff, who is embroiled in a major federal influence-peddling and corruption investigation.
Much, much more is likely to emerge about DeLay and his associates.
“One of the surest paths to riches in Washington,” according to a Bloomberg business news story this morning, “is to have these five words on a resume: ‘Office of Representative Tom DeLay.’ Eleven lobbyists who once worked for the Texas Republican and House majority leader helped bring in at least $45 million in fees for their firms in the past two years… Many of the more than 200 companies, coalitions and trade groups that have hired former DeLay employees as lobbyists since he became House Republican leader in January 2003 have gained from those ties as he championed their causes.”
To borrow from Dr. Seuss, writing about Richard M. Nixon nine days before his resignation:
Will you please go now?
You can go by horse.
You can go by cow.
Will you please go now?
[crossposted from FrederickClarkson.com]