Thursday, May 12, 2005

THIS IS YOUR LIFE, TOM DELAY: A Decade Of (Dubious) Achievement

May 2005
Dogged by scandal for his unethical behavior, Tom DeLay is “saluted” at the Capital Hilton at a gala sponsored by the American Conservative Union. More than 100 of DeLay’s constituents respond by sending him a letter critical of his decision to celebrate while he neglects the needs of people in his district.

May 2004
Tom DeLay fights to keep a provision in pending energy legislation to free makers of MTBE from liability. The additive has contaminated water supplies throughout the country. DeLay claimed that the bill was in danger not because of the MTBE provision but because of “trial lawyers…and also the environmental extremists.” DeLay has taken $567,400 from the oil and gas industry since 1989, which makes him the fourth top recipient in the House. (Sources: Houston Chronicle, 05/21/04, Center for Responsive Politics)

May 2003
In the middle of a fracas between Republicans and Democrats about redistricting in Texas, DeLay’s staff calls the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and asked officials there to track down Democratic members of the Texas State Legislature. The Democrats had taken a plane out of the capital city of Austin as a way to prevent a quorum in the House and protest the redistricting scheme. In October 2004, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct officially admonished DeLay for his actions. (Source: House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.)

May 2002
Tom DeLay says, unlike virtually every other lawmakers, he has no intention of returning campaign contributions he received from scandal-plagued Enron, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. (Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 11, 2002)

May 2001
“I am going to shock you. I don’t think there is enough money in the campaign system,” Tom DeLay tells the House Administration Committee at a hearing on campaign finance reform legislation to ban soft money. (Source: The New York Times, 05/02/01)

May 2000
Tom DeLay travels to London and Scotland on a trip arranged by lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff and another lobbyist, Edwin A. Buckham, put much of DeLay’s and his wife’s expenses on their credit cards, including airfare, food, phone calls, and other items. House ethics rules prohibit lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists, even if they are reimbursed by a non-lobbyist. (Source: The Washington Post, 04/24/05).

May 1999
The House Ethics Committee issues a rare private rebuke to DeLay for “badgering a lobbying organization over its hiring of a Democrat as its president.” DeLay had complained to the Electronic Industries Alliance and the GOP House leadership the October before about its hiring of a former Democratic congressman from Oklahoma, Dave McCurdy. After DeLay voiced his complaint, House leaders showed their displeasure with the group by postponing votes on an international treaty that the association wanted. (Source: The New York Times, 5/14/99)

May 1998
With the House about embark on debate over campaign finance reform legislation banning soft money, Tom DeLay supports a rule that would allow consideration of dozens of competing proposals, called a GOP stall tactic by campaign finance reform supporters. (Source: Political Finance & Lobby Reporter, May 27, 1998.)

May 1997
A Washington lobbyist writes a memo about a planned trip for Tom DeLay to Moscow, part of a lobbying effort by a mysterious Bahamas-based company, Chelsea, aimed at “building support for policies of the Russian government for progressive market reforms and trade with the United States.” In August, DeLay and several staff members travel to Russia. There they meet with lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Julius “Jay” Kaplan. During this period, DeLay continually voted to support institutions bolstering Russia, for example, voting for funds used by the International Monetary Fund to bail out the Russian economy in 1998. (Source: The Washington Post, 4/6/05)

May 1996
On May 14, 1996, Edwin Lupberger, then the CEO of Entergy Corp., writes DeLay a letter to thank him for meeting with him during a dinner for Republican “Team 100” donors—people who gave or raised over $100,000 for the Republican Party—and discussing pending legislation. “There is an issue before Congress of significant importance to our company and industry—repeal of the Public Utility Holding Act of 1935,” Lupberger wrote.

He urged DeLay to push the relevant committee chairmen to act on repealing the act. Over the summer, Entergy gave $20,000 in soft money to the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In September, DeLay went to the floor of the House to push the law’s repeal. (Micah L. Sifry and Nancy Watzman, Is That a Politician in Your Pocket?)

May 1995
Tom DeLay stalls negotiations on a budget reduction bill by insisting that the legislation stop the the Envieronmental Protection Agency from implementing auto and industrial pollution controls under the 1990 Clean Air Act. Since 1989, DeLay has accepted $262,000 from electric utilities and $268,000 from the automotive industry for his campaigns. (Sources: Associated Press, 05/12/95, Center for Responsive Politics).


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