Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How Good is DeLay's Poker Face?

Q: Guess who this quote is from:

"Short of some miracle, [Tom DeLay] will not be able to resurrect his political career..."

A: Molly Ivins
B: Roy Blunt
C: American Enterprise Institute
D: Democratic National Committee

The answer is.....................C.

The quote comes from a piece by American Enterprise Institute research fellow John C. Fortier, in an opinion piece published in The Hill today. Fortier writes that DeLay has been doing all he can to send the message: "'Keep the seat warm; I’ll be back.' But at the end of the day, these tactics are unlikely to succeed."

Fortier says that for DeLay to stay in power he needs to get back his majority leader position. But to get that he needs to get immediate dismissal of charges against him, which is unlikely. But to get that the Abramoff scandal still looms. And even if he survives that he might not weather the caucus' wrath of Republicans lose seats in the midterm elections in 2006.

Writes Fortier:
DeLay’s political future depends on the equivalent of a royal flush. He must beat the Texas indictment quickly and return to his position of majority leader, fight off rivals who want his post, avoid taint from the growing Abramoff scandals and avoid a setback in the 2006 midterm elections. Don’t bet on it.

Ok.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Public Has Grown Weary

Jeffrey H. Birnbaum of The Washington Post published an analysis on the public's growing discontent of the coziness between big money lobbyists and our elected officials in Washington, DC. Birnbaum writes that corruption in Washington as a front page issue is cyclical (occurring roughly every 10 years) but the most recent scandals have driven the public’s distrust of Congress to a new low.

And, of course, one if not the main artery at the heart of this attack on the public’s trust is former Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

“About 40 investigators and prosecutors are also looking into the activities of several lawmakers, including Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) and former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R), who is facing unrelated campaign finance charges in his home state of Texas. Burns, Doolittle and DeLay have denied any wrongdoing.

“The Post has also reported that investigators are gathering information about Abramoff's hiring of several congressional spouses, including DeLay's wife, Christine, who worked from 1998 to 2002 with a lobbying firm run by former DeLay staffers, and Doolittle's wife, Julie, who owned a consulting firm that was hired by Abramoff and his former law firm, Greenberg Traurig, to do fundraising for a charity he founded.”

But all news is not bad news when it comes to money in politics. The Connecticut legislature is on the verge of passing one of the most comprehensive campaign finance reform measures that the country has ever seen (they vote on the bill on Wednesday). The bill would provide public financing of elections to all state offices (House, Senate, and State-wide), impose strict spending limits, and enact strong restrictions on political contributions.

To read more on the bill go to the Courant.com. For more information on the campaign in Connecticut go to CleanUpConnecticut.org.

Monday, November 28, 2005

DeLay Planning To Reclaim His Post

Roll Call is reporting that DeLay is positioning himself to reclaim the Majority Leader post if his case is tossed by Judge Pat Priest.

According to CNN via Roll Call:

"But DeLay and his aides have already drafted a letter to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (Ohio) informing her that he is ready to return as Majority Leader, several Republican sources said. The letter was written in anticipation of the possibility that Priest, during last Tuesday's hearing on the DeLay allegations, would dismiss the case. It was never sent to Pryce because Priest asked for more time to consider motions from DeLay's legal team and Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Priest Delays Trial For Two Weeks

CNN reports that Judge Pat Priest has decided that he will need two weeks to go over the documents and motions submitted by both sides in the DeLay case before ruling on whether or not to dismiss the charges against DeLay.

The judge also said that if the charges stand he does not think the trial will occur before the end of the year.

Nationwide Coverage of Scanlon Plea

The Scanlon plea is headline news across the country with this being a popular headline: "Ex-DeLay aide pleads guilty in corruption case".

Stories eveywhere including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and even The Washington Times. For a comprehensive list of coverage via Google News click here.

Scanlon's plea agreement

Here's the document (pdf).

Monday, November 21, 2005

Scanlon enters guilty plea

...and he's ordered to pay $19 million in restitution to tribes.

(So much for that Delaware beach house.)

Who will he take down with him?

DeLay Thinks Murtha Is A Man Of "Great Integrity"

Others in the GOP should take to heart their embattled former Majority Leader's opinion of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). Quoting Tom DeLay from the June 15, 2005 edition of The Hill:
“I know that John Murtha is an honorable man,” DeLay said during the briefing, adding that he did not know any details of the article. “He is a man of great integrity."


I wonder if others would say the same about DeLay...

DeLay in court again tomorrow

The Houston Chronicle's R.G. Ratcliffe writes up a preview of the court hearing tomorrow. DeLay's lawyers are trying to get the case dismissed:

The core issue before visiting Judge Pat Priest on Tuesday will be whether the crimes DeLay is accused of committing were actually crimes in 2002 when they allegedly occurred.

[...]

They say criminal conspiracy did not apply to the election code until 2003 and that checks were not covered by the state's money-laundering laws until this year. All the activities in this case occurred in 2002.

[...]

But Earle also argued that the conspiracy statute applied to any felony in 2002, including those of the election code. Earle said the original conspiracy law was written when there was no separate election code and election law violations were included in the penal code.

"Clearly, as of 1907, the offense of criminal conspiracy covered a conspiracy to commit the felony offense of unlawfully making a corporate political contribution," Earle's brief said.

[...]

The first judge in the case, state District Judge Bob Perkins of Austin, agreed with Earle and let the indictment stand. That is one of the reasons it was important for DeGuerin to have Perkins removed from hearing DeLay's case.


We'll see what Judge Pat Priest does with these arguments. Seems to me that a crime is a crime is a crime, whether it's part of the election code or penal code, and that conspiracy charges ought to apply to all felonies regardless of whether they are committed in elections or elsewhere.

What might hurt Earle, though, is that it wasn't just anyone who asked for a clarification of the conspiracy statutes, which led to the 2003 new law that applied conspiracy to the election code. It was the Texas District Attorneys Association. That said, lawmakers pass extraneous and unnecessary laws all the time, some [gasp] to make themselves look good.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Former DeLay aide Scanlon charged

Associated Press:

Documents filed Friday say that Scanlon and Lobbyist A recruited a member of Congress, identified only as Representative No. 1, with gifts, trips, meals, entertainment and campaign contributions to aid their effort to pass legislation.


Clearly, "Lobbyist A" is Jack Abramoff.

Representative No. 1? My money is on Bob Ney. Anyone know where I can place that bet?

UPDATE: Further in the AP story is this sentence indicating that there is likely to be a plea agreement Scanlon's entered into:

The filing of a criminal information, rather than an indictment, often means prosecutors have reached a plea agreement with a defendant.


That means the heat will turn up on others -- definitely Abramoff, but perhaps Ney, too. Let's watch Ney's statements over the weekend.......

Thursday, November 17, 2005

DeLay-Blunt

The New York Times reports about new subpoenas issued by Ronnie Earle to gather information about how DeLay and Blunt committee traded money in 2000 and 2002:

The subpoena, issued in Austin, the Texas capital, asked for all records from Mr. DeLay's committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, about its contributions from 2000 to 2002 to Mr. Blunt's committee, Rely on Your Own Beliefs Fund, and to the state Republican Party in Missouri, where Mr. Blunt's son is governor.


The transactions are the subject of this ad we ran in Missouri last month. Watch here.

(Thanks to Daily DeLay reader MHS.)

Former aides repay DeLay

Samantha Levine of the Houston Chronicle profiles all the former DeLay aides who are repaying the indicted former Majority Leader with cash at tonight's fundraiser. Also, Public Citizen is holding a protest outside -- if you're in DC, near 101 Constitution Ave, attend from 5:30 to 6:30 and bring your own sign.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

DeLay's Host Committee

PoliticalMoneyLine has DeLay's host committee:


DeLay’s Fundraising Host Committee
11/15/2005 11:32:53 AM

The names of sixty-seven host committee members for Rep. Tom DeLay’s fundraising event this week in Washington, D.C. appeared in a recent email invitation. They are Gary Andres, James J. Baker, Jim Barnett, Anthony Bedell, Wayne Berman, Tim Berry, David Bockorny, Jim Boland, Britton Clarke, Red Cavaney, Kirsten Chadwick, Mike Chappell, Roy Coffee, Chris W. Cox, Amy Jensen Cunniffe, J.D. Derderian, Robert Dotchin, Marcel Dubois, Gov. John Engler, Craig Felner, John Fish, Chris Giblin, Geof Gradler, Bruce Gates, Michael Hanson, Steve Hart, Ralph Hellmann, Mike Henry, Susan Hirschmann, David Hobbs, Mark Isakowitz, John Keliher, Tom Kuhn, Ed Kutler, Jennifer Lukawski, Kathryn Lehman, Glenn LeMunyon, Nelson Litterst, Jeff MacKinnon, Drew Maloney, Ann Meyer, Dan Meyer, Susan Molinari, Bill Morley, Jeff Munk, Bill Paxon, Tom Pyle, George Ramonas, Stuart Roy, Tim Rupli, Bob Rusbuldt, Bill Sarpalius, Rick Shelby, John Shelk, Bob Slaughter, Juli Sullivan, Edlu Thom, David Thompson, Carl Thorsen, Bill Timmons, Matt Trant, Mark Valente, Todd Walker, Robb Watters, Bruce Wilkinson, Darren Willcox, and Jim Whittinghill.

Via Ellen Miller at TPMCafe.com.

UPDATE: A couple names jumped out, including Wayne Berman (pdf), who said in May 2003 that fundraising was "about the little people" because donations are limited to $2,000, and Stuart Roy, who just left DeLay's office for K Street.

Charlie Bass calls for new leadership of the House

Wow -- Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH-Moderate Wing), to the Union-Leader:

"When we have our majority leader being indicted and a bridge to nowhere, then it's time for us to reflect upon the Republican Party," Bass said.

Hurry up, I want my job back

DeLay's lawyers ask Earle to hurry up. Don't hold your breath. DeLay's only hope to get his Majority Leader post back is to have a resolution before January. If it goes longer, there will be new leadership elections in Washington.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

DeLay's words

The Times Union of Albany, NY says what I've been thinking: There is a higher standard for public officials. DeLay admitted to money laundering when he was brought to Austin by District Attorney Ronnie Earle, and now says he didn't break the law. But he knew it was happening, and whether he is convicted of the crimes or not, he's violated the standard to which we hold elected officials. Or, at least, the standard to which we should hold elected officials.

Here's an excerpt from their editorial:

The problem, for Mr. DeLay, is that such an admission goes well beyond what would make for plea-bargained misdemeanor charges. A conspiracy to launder money, in addition to a conspiracy to violate the law, is more like it, at least in the view of Mr. Earle.

And this is where the mess Mr. DeLay has gotten himself into gets especially tricky. Nothing in those discussions between Mr. DeLay and Mr. Earle last fall, revealing as they were, is in any way legally binding. Mr. DeLay wasn't even under oath when he tipped his hand. Unless Mr. Earle can collect testimony from other witnesses, and produce documented evidence, he can't press the case.

But what Mr. DeLay apparently said still is of enormous significance that extends even beyond the reach of a prosecutor's office. Congress, remember, is supposed to be held to a higher standard. Lack of an indictment or failure to obtain a conviction isn't supposed to be good enough.

Anyone so willing to admit to money laundering, and to do so for the sake of keeping his job as majority leader, of all things, shouldn't be in Congress at all. Let the facts come forward, with that much in mind.

DeLay ought to resign
.

[From Dail DeLay reader BK.]

Monday, November 14, 2005

Pryce and Abramoff

The headline of this blog posting will tick off Ohio Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R). She's the one, a week ago or so, called disgraced lobbyist and DeLay-pal Jack Abramoff, who told the Columbus Dispatch, "We think he is a creep, and we hate him."

That got me thinking. Didn't Pryce throw fundraisers at Abramoff's restaurant? A few emails later with a helpful research hand found the goods. More than $13,000 in expenditures at Signatures, the swank restaurant at which congressional staffers (and some members, too) were allowed to run up large tabs on the house.

Her office's response, courtesy of Jonathan Riskind of the Dispatch, was not very convincing:

Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce, of Upper Arlington, might not like indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but she didn’t mind spending money in his restaurant.

So said David Donnelly, of the Public Campaign Action Fund, a liberal-leaning watchdog group, last week after Pryce was quoted in The Dispatch calling Abramoff a "creep."

But a Pryce spokesman said the use of Signatures for fundraisers and other events is determined only by its convenient location to Capitol Hill. Abramoff sold his interest in the watering hole this summer.

Records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and Federal Elections Commission show Pryce’s political action "leadership" committee and her re-election committee spent more than $13,000 at Signatures during the past few years, including $2,392 for a fundraiser in May.

"Is the drive for money that all-consuming that she would hold a fundraiser at his restaurant?" Donnelly asked.

Sean Spicer, a Pryce spokesman, said that going there was a matter of convenience.

Headline says it all

GOP Lobbyists Plan Show of Support for DeLay, from Saturday's Washington Post.

They really don't care what it look like do they?

From the story:

More than five dozen lobbyists are named as members of the host committee for a fundraising reception in the District to benefit DeLay's reelection campaign. The event, to be on the ninth floor of 101 Constitution Ave. NW, Capitol Hill's hottest new lobbying venue, is expected to be the largest fundraiser for a single member of Congress this year.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Foot Meet DeLay's Mouth

On October 18, Team DeLay's spin was that D.A. Ronnie Earle "tried to coerce" DeLay into pleading guilty to a misdemeanor offence. Team DeLay attempted to portray Earle as a desperate D.A. that was forced to charge DeLay on felony counts because his plea proposal was rejected.

It turns out that that was only half the story. According to the Washington Post, it was Team DeLay that was seeking a plea deal in order to avoid a trial and help DeLay retain his leadership post. His lawyers are worried about statements DeLay made during an August 17 meeting with Earle. According to the Post, DeLay said:
"At that session, DeLay acknowledged that in 2002 he was informed about and expressed his support for transfers of $190,000 in mostly corporate funds from his Texas political action committee to an arm of the Republican National Committee in Washington and then back to Texas, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named.

"Those transfers are at the heart of the prosecutor's investigation of the alleged use of corporate funds in the 2002 Texas elections, in violation of state law. In the prosecutor's view, DeLay's admission put him in the middle of a conspiracy not only to violate that law but also to launder money."

Conspiracy? Money laundering? DeLay? Say it ain't so....

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Buying bad publicity

A story on Law.com sheds a little more light on the eight corporations indicted alongside DeLay and his associates in the TRMPAC case. Four have settled, four are fighting the charges. My favorite passage from the article:

David Sheppard, a solo practitioner in Austin, says his client, Bacardi USA, of Miami, Fla., has not entered a plea to the charge but will fight it.

"We've seen everything the DA tells us we did. We just can't, for the life of us, figure out what we did wrong," Sheppard says. "I think the only proper way to dispose of this case is a dismissal. We'd probably waive the letter of apology."

Wishing Meghan well.

Today is Meghan's last day writing for the Daily DeLay and working at Public Campaign Action Fund as she leaves to pursue opportunities in communications and media work. She's been an incredibly valuable colleague for us and has kept this blog up-to-date with the latest, breaking news on all things DeLay.

Join me in thanking Meghan for her consistent eye for blog-worthy news, sense of humor, and political instincts that benefited us all, and in wishing her well...

Full speed ahead

DeLay lawyer Dick DeGuerin told the Houston Chronicle that he and his client want the trial to get underway as soon as possible.

"We've got to go forward — get to trial as soon as possible," DeGuerin said. "Tom DeLay has a primary in March. He has a leadership position. And in politics, nature abhors a vacuum."

The lawyer's goal is to have the charges dismissed or get an acquittal before Congressional Republicans can elect a new leader when Congress returns from winter recess in January.

DeLay has been allowed to continue participating in some leadership meetings, but seems to be losing some support among fellow Republicans - but only those who don't fear retribution if he returns to power.

"Working in DeLay's favor is the fact that his fellow Republicans know that he could be exonerated and reward those who supported him, Austin lobbyist Bill Miller said. If DeLay 'succeeds in beating these charges, there will be a reckoning for people on the Republican side, especially for those who did not step up and help him,' Miller said."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Judges for rent

"Hauled into court alongside Representative Tom DeLay, the Texas judicial system is also on trial," writes Ralph Blumenthal in today's New York Times. And it should be, since, as Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, points out in the piece, "Judges in Texas swing the gavel with one hand and take money with the other."

But as big as Texas is, the problem is much bigger than just Texas.

Thirty-eight states have elections for their Supreme Courts, and in the 2000 elections, candidates for these seats raised $45.6 million, a 61% increase over 1998, and double the amount they raised in 2004, according to a report by Justice At Stake and the Brennan Center. The average state Supreme Court candidate in 2000 raised $430,529, and 16 of them raised more than $1 million. At least half of this cash came from lawyers and business interests, the groups that have more than a civic interest in how judicial decisions are made.

When a problem is systemic, the solution must be systemic, too. We need public financing for judicial races around the country, so that the kind of political shenanigans we've seen in Texas courtrooms over the last few weeks don't take place. And why stop there? We need full public financing for legislative races, too. If we had that, it would go a long way toward eliminating the policy-for-politics deals exposed in the scandals surrounding Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, and company. We may enjoy our work here at the Daily DeLay, but we'd rather we were out of a job. To read more about how full public financing, or Clean Elections, works, go here (pdf).

Hearing set for motion to move trial

November 22nd.

Interesting admission:

The brief filed by DeLay's lawyers said the role he played in dividing the county into three congressional districts during the 2003 congressional redistricting battle had made him "unpopular" in Travis County. He called Austin "one of the last enclaves of the Democratic Party in Texas."

One of the last enclaves. Gotta believe that DeLay enjoyed approving that line in his brief. But does that mean that the corollary is true? That everywhere else is Republican? Will DeLay get a fairer hearing back home? With 42% of his district saying they want him to resign, according to a Survey USA poll, I'd be careful what I wished for if I were DeLay.

Here's one interesting analysis of Travis County, put out yesterday to counter DeLay's claims:

Meanwhile, the Democratic Lone Star Project put out a statement challenging DeLay's contention that Travis County is Democratic. The group said election returns for the past two presidential elections, past two U.S. Senate races and the 2002 governor's race show Travis County was more Democratic than Republican by a margin of two-tenths of one percent.

Monday, November 07, 2005

And the award goes to...

Ohio Rep. Bob Ney received a subpeona from the federal grand jury investigating allegations of wrong-doing by high-powered lobbyist Jack Abramoff. This gives Ney the dubious honor of being "the first lawmaker to receive such a demand in the expanding influence-peddling investigation," according to The Washington Post.

The subpeona seeks records and testimony from Ney's office.

"I voluntarily provided information to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee last year and I have offered to make myself available to meet with the House Ethics Committee," Ney said in a statement yesterday. "I believe, however, that although the government's investigation of Mr. Abramoff has been well-publicized through other sources, it is inappropriate for my office to comment in any detail about an ongoing investigation."

That last part sounds awfully familiar...

A lesson learned?

I personally think Clay Robison at the Houston Chronicle might be giving Tom DeLay a little bit too much credit, but it's an interesting theory...

"Regardless of how the criminal case against him turns out, former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay finally has learned an important civics lesson," Robison writes. "Perception does count. Had he learned that earlier, perhaps he wouldn't be facing a trial on charges of conspiracy to violate state election laws, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, stemming from an alleged scheme to illegally funnel corporate money into several Texas legislative races."

Robison credits DeLay with a victory in getting Judge Perkins removed from the case for a paltry $5,000 in campaign contributions to Democrats, but says that, as a result, DeLay can no longer use Perkins as a political distraction.

"DeLay says he is innocent, but, politically, he suffers from a perception problem larger than the one that had Perkins removed from his case, the perception that DeLay's idea of "public service" is defined primarily by money and partisanship.

He didn't invent the hyperpartisan system that has seriously damaged our way of government, ignoring everyday voices and concerns in favor of special interests.

But he has championed that system, often skating on the ethical, if not the legal, edge and assuring that money speaks the loudest in Washington, and only with a Republican tongue."

Friday, November 04, 2005

With Friends Like These Part II

Philip Shenon reports in today's New York Times that investigations into alleged wrong-doing by scandalized lobbyist Jack Abramoff have turned up some interesting e-mails involving indicted former Majority Leader DeLay.

In 2002, it appears that DeLay put pressure on Abramoff to raise money for him through a private charity that the lobbyist controlled. The request led Abramoff to try to raise the money from Indian tribes that he represented.

"The e-mail messages do not specify why Mr. DeLay wanted the money, how it was to be used or why he would want money raised through the auspices of a private charity," Shenon writes.

There's too much good stuff in this article for me to excerpt here. You should go read the whole thing.

With friends like these...

Now a NEW judge, Pat Priest, a Democrat, has been appointed by the Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court (a Republican). Jefferson, it appears, received help from TRMPAC. You know what they say... With friends like these...

Round and round we go, where we stop, nobody knows.

What is clear, though, is the clock is ticking on DeLay. In a conversation with a Capitol Hill reporter the other day, we both came to the same conclusion: To maintain his hope to return to leadership in the Republican caucus, DeLay likely needs a quick trial and would need to be exonerated by the end of the year. That outcome seems very much in doubt.

By January, the theory goes, the palace intrigue within the Capitol Building and the GOP will burst in the open and ambitious members will scramble for a rare leadership election. I actually think it'll happen quicker: As soon as the ambitious GOP leadership wannabes get a sense there will be no resolution before January, they will begin lining up votes.

All the legal maneuvers of this case so far have lengthened the pre-trial period, and with holidays coming up, it's hard to see how DeLay gets his trial date, a jury gets selected (if you thought getting the right judge selected was intense, you ain't seen nothin' yet, though we're not likely to hear much of the jury selection beyond spin, spin, and more spin), the trial is completed, and the jury deliberations over, before January. And we still have DeLay's attempt to get the trial moved from Travis County because of the publicity the trial has received (from DeLay's lawyers).

So, basically, DeLay got one Democratic judge thrown off just to get another appointed (by a Republican judge who received TRMPAC support -- thanks!). And by doing so, he's lengthened the pre-trial period without much progress, which will damage his chances to return to leadership.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

*Ding*Ding*Ding* Round Two: Ronnie Earle

In what looks like is going to be an ongiong battle, a second judge has been removed from the trial of indicted former Majority Leader Tom DeLay for money laundering and conspiracy.

Administrative Judge B.B. Schraub has recused himself after D.A. Ronnie Earle filed a motion to have Schraub removed from the case, based on his past contributions to Republican candidates, including Gov. Rick Perry, a prominent ally of Tom DeLay.

Schraub said he will ask the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court to name a judge to preside over the case.

"Governor Perry was a major figure in the redistricting effort that the (DeLay) successfully argued," Earle said in his motion. "Because Judge Schraub has donated to Governor Perry, he has disclosed through this free speech that he agrees in principle with Perry's agenda regarding Tom DeLay's redistricting map."

{Insert your own joke here}

You have to read The Note really closely today to catch this nugget...

"Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) delivers a speech at the Heritage Foundation at 1:00 pm ET advocating fiscal discipline and government accountability." (ed.- emphasis added)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hhhmmm...

Michael Hedges at the Houston Chronicle takes a closer look at DeLay's record fundraising for his legal defense fund, as well as some of the expenses. Since 2000, when the indicted former Majority Leader was first charged with a House Ethics violation, the fund has raked in $1.4 million.

However, that may not be enough...in the past three months, DeLay spent $260,000 in legal fees, with $100,000 of that going to the Houston law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani, which has offices in several cities and a lobbying component in Washington.

The large payments to this firm have raised conflict of interest charges from Joan Claybrook at Public Citizen.

"Owing such sums of money to your defense firm while that firm is a major player in the influence-peddling business in Washington is unseemly and a conflict of interest," Claybrook said. "To avoid any appearance of corruption, DeLay should get new legal representation."


Well, we know that conflicts of interest have never kept Rep. DeLay up at night...

Also, interestingly, DeLay has between $100,000 and $250,000 in outstanding legal fees to Bracewell. Maybe it's not coming in as fast as it's going out?
Just asking.

Signed, a Washington, DC-based Political Hack

Rep. Roy Blunt's Communications Director, Burson Taylor, has sent a letter from Washington to the Springfield News-Leader in response to David's Monday editorial. It's too good to not post the whole thing...


With respect to the Ozarks Voices column by David Donnelly, please allow me to respond.

Mr. Donnelly is correct. Television stations that operate on the public airwaves have a responsibility to the public to air content that is truthful.

Unfortunately, Mr. Donnelly and his Washington, D.C.-based, George Soros-funded interest group have no such responsibility. They deliberately produced an ad that scurrilously accuses congressman Blunt of money laundering, a false charge that prompted responsible television stations in southwest Missouri to refuse to air it.

The Rely on Your Beliefs Fund, of which congressman Blunt is the honorary chairman with no voting authority or financial control, has contributed to the Missouri Republican Party each year since its inception. Rely on Your Beliefs never earmarks funds, and it did not do so in 2000. Rather, the fund contributed to the state party to support Republican candidates for office in Missouri. It stands to reason the party committee would contribute to Matt Blunt, a Republican candidate for statewide office.

Any comparison in the ad or elsewhere to Texas campaign finance law is inaccurate. Missouri law allows contributions from Rely on Your Beliefs to the Missouri Republican Party.

The News-Leader's willingness to allow readers from southwest Missouri to weigh in regularly through the Ozarks Voices column is an admirable feature. Surely your readers won't be swayed by a Washington, D.C.-based, George Soros-funded activist who probably couldn't find the Ozarks on a map. I hope you'll reserve space in the future for southwest Missourians who reflect the opinions and interests of the area.


Burson Taylor, Washington, D.C. The author is communications director for the Office of the Majority Whip

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Money Keeps Coming

Indicted former Majority Leader Tom DeLay saw a huge leap in money raised for his Legal Defense Fund this quarter, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

"Between July 1 and September 30, at least 70 individuals and 35 corporations, political action committees and campaign committees have contributed $318,020 to DeLay's legal defense fund to help him pay for lawyers to fight charges filed against him by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle," the release reads. "This represents a huge leap over the first two quarters of 2005. Between January and March, nine individuals and 11 corporations, PACs and campaign committees contributed $47,750 to the fund. Between April and June, eight individuals and three corporations, PACs and campaign committees contributed $42,900."


Ten members of Congress have contributed at least $5,000 from their PACs or campaign comittees. They are Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Tom Reynolds(R-N.Y.) and Wally Herger (R-Calif.).

So far this year, DeLay has spent more than $300,000 in legal fees.

DeLay case judge removed

DeLay has a good day in court.

I have to say, this was a high risk strategy, and one that doesn't necessarily pay off huge for DeLay. Yes, he removes a judge that he and his lawyers think may be biased, but that doesn't guarantee he gets a judge who he'll like any better.

But all in all, it's a dangerous precedent... Who knows what this means for a venue change request.

Rep. Blunt trying to hide the truth

David's op-ed concerning the ad that Roy Blunt doesn't want Missourians to see ran in the Springfield News-Leader yesterday. The op-ed was in response to the decision by four broadcast television stations in Joplin and Springfield, MO to pull the ad we showed you last week that links Blunt to indicted former Majority Leader Tom DeLay's money-laundering schemes.

"'When in doubt, tell the truth. That maxim I did invent, but never expected it to be applied to me,' Mark Twain commented in a 1906 speech, David writes. "While it's clear Blunt doesn't believe the maxim should be applied to him, we should at least apply it to television stations that operate on the public airwaves."


You can read the whole thing here.

Charlie O'Reilly of Nixa wrote into the paper on Sunday, demanding a better explanation from Blunt than simply saying the transactions were "legal."

"While I was glad to know this 'fund swapping' was legal, my question of Rep. Blunt is: What about the basic principles of conduct that we expect of our elected representatives? What about his cooperating with DeLay so that funds were channeled to DeLay's personal interest?," he asks. "I'm also wondering if money I have donated to Blunt over the years has been used in similar questionable 'fund swapping?'"

Today, Tim Straus of Springfield, seconded O'Reilly's comments.

"Congressman Blunt must once again prove that he has the integrity to represent the honest, hardworking people in southwest Missouri. He should make the choice to move beyond being Mr. DeLay's lap dog and an unquestioning mouthpiece for the Republican Party and re-establish himself as an unquestionably honest representative of our area," Straus writes. "He has about 370 days to convince us before the next election."

Bizarro

DeLay's lawyers issued a subpoena for the judge they're trying to get removed?

Is DeLay just trying to antagonize Judge Bob Perkins off the case or what?

I don't get it.