Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Friday, February 24, 2006
Breaking: Wade bribed two more members
Mitchell Wade of MZM -- the guy who bribed Duke Cunningham -- apparently made illegal campaign donations to two other members of Congress. More soon.
Update II: CNN has the AP story. Key paragraph:
Wade, former president of defense contractor MZM Inc. in Washington, also acknowledged making nearly $80,000 in illegal campaign contributions in the names of MZM employees and their spouses to two other members of Congress, who were not identified. The lawmakers apparently were unaware the donations were illegal, according to court papers.
And San Diego Union-Tribune (their reporting has been amazing on this story) has more:
In a summary of the prosecution's case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard R. Sklamberg disclosed that Wade made about $80,000 in illegal campaign contributions in 2004 and 2006 to two members of Congress he did not name. The lawmakers were targeted because they had the potential to steer federal contracts to MZM.
Color me naive. How do you not know when this many fraudulent contributions come in? We're not talking about a donation here or there. Who are these members? Katherine Harris? Virgil Goode? John Doolittle? Others?
But the real question is, what did these members promise in return for the contributions?
DeLay's Pre-Primary Report
What do you see of note?
Here are some interesting notes:
No media expenses I can tell.
DeLay spent $92.01 for pest control on 2/8/06. I guess those cockroaches follow him everywhere, like homing pigeons.
He spent $3895 on rent in January and February. That seems very high.
He spent about $14,000 on telemarketing. Is this a fundraising expense, or voter conact?
He bought a dataset -- targeted voters -- from the NRA. Is the $962.01 fair market value? And another $2900 to Texas Right to Life PAC for list expenses.
He paid $110,000 to McGuirreWoods for legal fees. Why not the legal defense fund for this expense?
He spent more than $16,000 on direct mail and thousands more in postage -- I guess that's the 8-page letter.
Bill Moyers' Speech: Saving Democracy
Bill Moyers has been barnstorming California on an eight-day speaking tour focusing his considerable intellect and voice on the scandals in Washington and what we can do to clean up politics.
Public Campaign's (and Daily DeLay's!) very own Nancy Watzman and Micah Sifry helped in the drafting of the speech, and we are proud to post it on our affiliated site over at Public Campaign.
Please forward it to friends, family, colleagues, and associates right away.
Here are some snippets:
On the urgency of the fight to clean up politics:
The great progressive struggles in our history have been waged to make sure ordinary citizens, and not just the rich, share in the benefits of a free society. Yet today the public may support such broad social goals as affordable medical coverage for all, decent wages for working people, safe working conditions, a secure retirement, and clean air and water, but there is no government 'of, by, and for the people' to deliver on those aspirations. Instead, our elections are bought out from under us and our public officials do the bidding of mercenaries. Money is choking democracy to death. So powerfully has wealth shaped our political agenda that we cannot say America is working for all of America.
On Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff:
DeLay was a man on the move and on the take. But he needed help to sustain the cash flow. He found it in a fellow right wing ideologue named Jack Abramoff. Abramoff personifies the Republican money machine of which DeLay with the blessing of the House leadership was the major domo. It was Abramoff who helped DeLay raise those millions of dollars from campaign donors that bought the support of other politicians and became the base for an empire of corruption. DeLay praised Abramoff as 'one of my closest friends.' Abramoff, in turn, told a convention of college Republicans, 'Thank God Tom DeLay is majority leader of the house. Tom DeLay is who all of us want to be when we grow up.'
On the cost of corruption and sacrifice:
There are, as I said, no victimless crimes in politics. The cost of corruption is passed on to you. When the government of the United States falls under the thumb of the powerful and privileged, regular folks get squashed.
This week I visited for the first time the Museum of the Presidio in San Francisco. From there American troops shipped out to combat in the Pacific. Many never came back. On the walls of one corridor are photographs of some of those troops, a long way from home. Looking at them, I wondered: Is this what those Marines died for on the Marianas – for sweatshops, the plunder of our public trust, the corruption of democracy? Government of the Abramoffs, by the DeLays, and for the people who bribe them?
I don't think so.
Read the entire speech – it will take you a little while, but it's worth it. And then get back to work to fight against the greed and for real reform.
Here's the URL
If this speech moves you, tell your member of Congress to support the Clean Elections-style public financing Moyers advocates for in his speech.
The power of these words can shape the debate. I'm certain of it.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
DeLay's Letter to Constituents
Like A Free Ride When You've Already Paid
Texas Joe Barton (R-TX) is down right mad at Citgo. He's mad because while oil prices are at an all time high, Citgo had the gaul to start a program that offered heating oil to the poor in the Northeast at rates up to 60% below market price. That's right, Citgo, and only Citgo, started an oil-for-the-poor program so those less fortunate than others could heat their home this winter.
And he's is so mad that he's demanding, according to the New York Daily News, that the company produce by tomorrow all "all records, minutes, logs, e-mails and even desk calendars related to Citgo's novel program of supplying discounted heating oil to low-income communities in the United States."
Barton want this information and anwsers to these questions:
"'how and why were the particular beneficiaries of this program selected' and whether the program 'runs afoul of any U.S. laws, including but not limited to, antitrust laws.'"
It's no surprise to learn that Barton is second only to Tom DeLay in receiving oil industry money.
So while all the other oil companies are raking in record profits and consumers are wondering if they are price gouging us, Barton goes after the one company that offered discounted oil to those who needed help the most this winter.
Isn't it ironic...
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
New Report: America For Sale
The length makes it a weighty report to read (I would have broken it down into volumes, myself), but it pulls no punches.
There is a cost to the corruption DeLay and Co. have perpetrated upon us. It impacts our wallets, our economic health, our environment and public health, our security, and, importantly, our trust in all of our public servants, be they Democrats, Republicans, or have some other affiliation. The GOP Congressional leadership and the White House ought to be held accountable for all the examples outlined in Rep. Slaughter's report and for lowering our collective expectations of political leaders. They have damaged public trust in Congress as an institution and they ought to pay a price.
Our work over the next nine months will be to educate voters about who is at fault.
The legacy of the cost of corruption is real and it can be measured in dollars, lives, and dashed dreams.
Yesterday was not a good day if your last name starts with an S, ends with an M, and has the letters "antoru" in the middle
"Philadelphia Trust advertises itself as an independent private bank for 'affluent investors' - who have liquid assets of at least $250,000 - and for institutions. On its Web site, it states that its "[b]anking services are available only to investment advisory clients whose portfolios we manage, oversee or administer."
Santorum does not meet these requirements which, if true, means he may have violated Senate ethics rules.
And how much cash has the bank given Santorum?
"Officials with Philadelphia Trust have been generous supporters of Santorum's campaign since the private bank opened its doors in late 1998. Federal records show the company's executives, directors and their spouses have donated $24,000 either to the senator's campaign or to the America's Foundation PAC. Of that total, $13,000 came from the man who signed the mortgage papers - Philadelphia Trust CEO Michael Crofton - and his wife.
"Crofton also has been chairman of the board of advisers for Operation Good Neighbor, and records show the bank has donated at least $10,000 to the senator's charity."
Unfortunately for Santorum, the story doesn't end there. The Philadelphia Daily News also calls into question contributions and spending by the Senator's PAC.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Abramoff Sentencing May Be Put On Hold
This news has got to rattle a few cages (and some nerves).
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Abramoff and Rove: Two Peas In A Pod
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Feds Subpoena U.S. Family Network
Now federal investigators have issued a subpoena for documents relating to the group, reports the National Journal.
Of special interest to the investigators is the $15,600 that the group paid to Liberty Consulting in 1999. That firm was run by the wife of Tony Rudy, who was DeLay's deputy chief of staff before he became a lobbyist at Abramoff's firm. Rudy is one of the two former Hill staffers mentioned in Abramoff's plea agreement who offered legislative help after receiving gifts and other favors. According to the National Journal,
The whole gang!
The subpoena asks for U.S. Family Network documents relating to Abramoff; Tony and Lisa Rudy; DeLay and his wife, Christine; Buckham and his wife, Wendy; and several dozen other individuals and groups that have been linked to Abramoff by investigators and news reports. Others mentioned in the subpoena include Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist, two of Abramoff's longtime friends who played roles in some of his lobbying activities for his Indian casino clients.
Of course the U.S. Family Network is also the same group that received $1 million reported to come from Russian energy executives to influence DeLay's vote on an issue related to funding from the International Monetary Fund to help the troubled Russian economy and its business elites.
We told Houstonites about all this in an ad several weeks ago. View it here.
Hastert Gets Unwanted Attention
In June 2003, Jack Abramoff's Washington restaurant, Signatures, was the site of a fundraiser for Hastert. Several days later, Hastert signed a letter to Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton, asking her to reject a request from a tribe for a new casino. Abramoff's client was a tribe with rival interests.
As DeLay's legal peril mounted, Hastert backed him at every turn, attempting to change House rules to allow an indicted leader to stay in power and even altering the leadership of the ethics committee, which had been exposing misconduct by the majority leader....
Then when Earle began an investigation of the fundraising associated with DeLay's campaign to pass the redistricting plan, Hastert became increasingly involved in efforts to protect DeLay -- both out of loyalty and out of deference, former leadership aides said.
DeLay Challenger Goes to Utah In Search Of Campaign Cash
Tom Campbell, who is challenging DeLay for the GOP nod in TX-22, headed north to Salt Lake City in search of campaign cash. Campbell, who is self-declaring himself a "reformer," attended a fundraiser held by Sen. Orrin Hatch's son. Entry fee to the event varied from $250 to $1,000.
When asked about his campaign, Campbell said "the bottom line is: It runs on money."
Spoken like a true "reformer"....
Friday, February 10, 2006
He reminds us that the U.S. Supreme Court will be reviewing the redistricting plan next month, with arguments on March 1. That day attorneys representing civil rights groups and a Texas county wiill question the redrawing of district lines three years after the census. They will argue that the new plan diluted minority votes, violating the Voting Rights Act.
Last week, White House submitted an amicus brief supporting the Texas plan. As Dubose writes, this is no great surprise given how closely DeLay worked with Rove and others in the Bush administration on the redistricting scheme:
Because the Bush team worked hand in hand with the majority leader. DeLay known for the intimidating and at times thuggish behavior that earned him the name “the Hammer”—did the heavy lifting in Texas. The president and his advisers applied the pressure in Washington. Bush senior adviser Karl Rove did much of the work, but the campaign extended beyond the White House. The president’s political appointees at the U.S. Department of Justice helped out, suppressing a legal opinion that found the DeLay plan in violation of minority voters’ rights.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
It depends on what the definition of a "friend" is
Tom DeLay just sent a nine-page letter to his GOP constituents, claiming that it is "absolutely untrue" that he was a "close personal friend" of Jack Abramoff's. Hmmm...all those trips, all those gifts (remember the Three Tenors concert)? We suppose it's all in the definition of what Tom DeLay considers a friend...The Roll Call article reporting on this letter (text available with subscription) goes on to talk about the tough reelection fight DeLay faces, and how he is trying to raise as much as $9 million, which could make the race the most expensive in history. DeLay has already ramped up his grassroots organizing and fundraising, and hopes to get much of his cash from conservatives nationwide. He has also hired a bunch of fundraising pros with deep ties to the Republican party, President Bush, and Karl Rove.
The story also quotes a "top House Republican leadership aide, saying:
No one knows what the next shoe to drop [on DeLay] is going to be...He's not radioactive, not yet, but if there are indictments handed down, then it will be tough to be seen with him...
How to succeed in Congress
And why is there a vacancy on the Appropriations Committee? Because Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) resigned after pleading guilty in November to accepting bribes in return for government business and other favors.
We couldn't make this stuff up.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Meet the old boss, same as the new boss
Just as Republicans thought they might have been venting the stench from the Abramoff lobbying scandal, Rep. Boehner settled for spraying some deodorizer. He announced on Sunday that he saw no reason to ban two of the most egregious abuses: free travel for congressmen paid for by private groups, and "earmarks," often inserted secretly, that set aside money for pork barrel projects...Democrats can thank Rep. Boehner for keeping the Abramoff issue alive.
DeLay fights for his political life
[I]t is a diminished DeLay who is fighting for his political life.
The only perk he's got left of his leadership life is his security detail...
People close to DeLay say that he is frustrated by his evaporating ability to act and distracted by his re-election battle.
"We think Tom DeLay is dead," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice. "He's dead politically."
Monday, February 06, 2006
Mr. DeLay Goes To Austin
DeLay is heading to Austin in search of campaign cash (how ironic): From KXAN.com news brief:
"Congressman Tom DeLay of Sugarland returns to Austin, not for another court appearance, but for two fundraisers. The former U.S. House Majority Leader denies any wrongdoing as he faces money laundering charges related to Texas Legislative races back in 2002."
Friday, February 03, 2006
The Enron E-Mails
For example, here is Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, then on retainer to Enron, writing to company VP Richard Shapiro, who was one of its in-house lobbyists:
Date: 19 Dec 2000 15:19 PST
Ralston went on to be Karl Rove's personal assistant, by the way. And here's one that shows how Enron spread its money around and made sure several Members of Congress could take credit for its donations to the RNC. But note at the bottom where DeLay is described asking Enron for $100,000 in corporate and individual contributions to his federal PAC, ARMPAC, and where it is explained that the money will be used, in part, on the redistricting effort in Texas.
From: Carolyn CooneyWith the Enron trials underway, we thought this would be a good time to dig into this e-mail trove. But it's too big to do alone. So, if you have some spare time and want to help bring more gems like these to light, go to the Enron Email Corpus and start searching. Post your best finds in the comments below, and we'll do our best to help shine a light on what you find.
To: Rosalee Fleming
Cc: email@example.com, Richard Shapiro
, Linda Robertson
Bcc: firstname.lastname@example.org, Richard Shapiro
, Linda Robertson
Date: 01 Jun 2001 04:06 PDT
Subject: The President's Dinner, June 27th In Washington, DC
May 31, 2001
To: Ken Lay
From: Rick Shapiro
Subject: The President=01,s Dinner, A Congressional Salute Honoring Preside=nt=20 Bush and Vice President Cheney, June 27, 2001 in Washington, DC
This memo is a follow up to your phone conversation with Roger Enrico=20 regarding Enron contributing $250,000 to The President=01,s Dinner. The=20 President=01,s Dinner is a joint fundraising effort by the National Republi=can=20 Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the National Republican Senatorial=20 Committee (NRSC). We contacted both Congressman Tom DeLay and the House=20 Senate Dinner committee to ensure that Enron could fully participate in The==20 President=01,s Dinner and receive credit for money we have already committe=d to=20 give to the Committees earlier this year. =20
With the assistance of Congressman Tom DeLay we were able to apply our=20 previously contributed soft money toward this dinner. Consequently, we wil=l=20 be =01&credited=018 as giving $250,000 to this event, even though we are be=ing=20 asked to give only $50,00 in =01&new=018 soft money. Our earlier contribut=ions of=20 $100,000 each to the NRCC and NRSC will make up the remaining money. You==20 will be listed as Co-Chair of the event, the highest level of giving. We==20 will be crediting Congressmen DeLay, Armey, Barton and Tauzin for raising t=he=20 $100,000 allocation for the NRCC. As for $100,000 we earlier gave the NRSC=,=20 Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has requested that Enron give her some credit==20 for raising the money. We would like to split it among several other=20 Senators. =20
In addition, Congressman Tom DeLay has asked Enron to contribute $100,000 t=o=20 his leadership committee, ARMPAC, through a combination of corporate and=20 personal money from Enron=01,s executives. ARMPAC funds will be used to as=sist=20 other House Members as well as the redistricting effort in Texas. We will =be=20 meeting this request over the course of this calendar year. [Emphases added.]
Thursday, February 02, 2006
The Boehner ad
We've also posted a quick summary of Boehner's likeness to the disgraced Majority Leader he replaces, Tom DeLay. Feel free to circulate:
The Facts on John Boehner (R-OH)
1. Like Tom DeLay, John Boehner has close ties to K Street
Boehner played a key role in Tom DeLay's vaunted "K Street Project" to encourage lobbying firms to hire Republicans. In fact, beginning soon after the GOP took control of Congress in 1995, Boehner held weekly meetings with about a dozen of the most powerful lobbyists in the speaker's suite in the Capitol. "He was a policy traffic cop for the business community," said a colleague of Boehner's of his role as chairman of the GOP conference. "He ... translated business outreach into votes."1 Across the span of his career, Boehner has raised nearly 95% of his money from business interests.
2. Like Tom DeLay, John Boehner raises money from the industries he regulates
Special interest groups and lobbyists have two paths by which to try to influence John Boehner: his campaign account and his leadership PAC, the Freedom Project.
Boehner chairs the powerful Committee on Education and the Workforce, which has jurisdiction over minimum wage, worker safety and compensation, and employee protections, as well as student loan policy. Boehner also serves as vice chair of the powerful Committee on Agriculture, which has jurisdiction over a broad range of agribusiness including the tobacco industry. From student loans to tobacco, Boehner has favored special interests over the public interest.
Boehner's 10th highest contributor over the span of his career is tobacco giant RJR Nabisco/RJ Reynolds Tobacco. The cigarette manufacturer is also a consistent and generous donor to Boehner's Freedom Project leadership PAC. Some argue that Boehner and other Republican leaders reneged on a promise to introduce legislation in 1998 to prevent children from smoking after they received large contributions from tobacco industry PACs. John Boehner (R-OH) took $10,800 from the tobacco industry during that cycle. At the time, the average contribution from the tobacco industry to Boehner and other members of the Republican leadership was $12,700, over five times more than the average House member's $2,360.2 In 1996, Boehner came under fire for distributing campaign checks from tobacco interests to colleagues on the House floor.
Last year, Rep. Boehner supported legislation that would benefit banks that make student loans and increase payments for millions of students. Between 2003 and 2004, banks and other institutions that provide loans to students donated nearly $60,000 to Boehner and nearly $70,000 to his leadership PAC, the Freedom Project.3
3. Like Tom DeLay, John Boehner Curries Favor with fellow Republicans
Of the $8.7 million he has raised in his congressional career, John Boehner has donated $2.7 million to Republican colleagues and candidates since 1998, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. "Money talks, and John is listened to," said Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) who is himself embroiled in the Abramoff scandal.4
4. Like Tom DeLay, Boehner Likes to Travel on the Dime of Special Interests
A group of Washington lobbyists led by Richard Kessler under the umbrella of the Ripon Educational Fund and the Ripon Society has spent millions of dollars taking lawmakers to European capitals and U.S. resorts, thereby skirting congressional ethics rules that forbid registered lobbyists from paying for congressional travel. John Boehner took two trips costing a total of at least $13,920.5
5. Like Tom DeLay, Boehner has Connections to the Abramoff Scandal
John Boehner received $32,500 in political contributions from Indian tribes represented by fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff, placing him in the top tier of lawmakers who got donations from the lobbyist or his clients. Only 12 other members of Congress raked in more money than Boehner.6
6. Boehner votes with Tom DeLay
John Boehner voted with Tom DeLay 96% of the time between 1991 and 2005.7
Counting all the votes, twice
This discrepancy can be accounted for quite simply. A number of people had taken so much money from both Blunt and Boehner that they felt obligated to cast a ballot for each of their financial patrons.
DeLay wants to keep in shape
He was one of the 50 House members voting "no" yesterday on a new ban on former members of Congress who become registered lobbyists from using the House gym.
He must be thinking ahead. A guy has to keep in shape, after all.
(Thanks, Murshed Zaheed)
Off to the races
If you haven't yet seen the ads on these characters, click here.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that the Republicans aren't exactly ready for revolution. In a closed-door meeting, they voted 107-to-85 not to open up the seven leadership slots below House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL).
And Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has thrown in his hat for his state colleague, Shadegg.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Is DeLay's ARMPAC Broke?
DeLay's ARMPAC has no money. ARMPAC's year-end report shows that the PAC received $17,000 from six different PACS. The PAC spent a little less than that on disbursements which mostly consisted of the salaries of Delay's wife (Christine DeLay), his daughter (Danni DeLay Ferro), and his codefendant in Texas Jim Ellis (the PAC gave Ellis his December paycheck and fronted him his January one as well).
The PAC is carrying a debt of nearly $150,000 which technically makes it insolvent. The PAC reported cash-on-hand at year's end of $44,000. It also reported that $22,000 in previously-written checks had been "lost," voiding them out, and thereby giving their account a credit for that amount. Without the unexpected $22,000, ARMPAC would barely have $20,000 in the bank.
The PAC reported only one small payment to one of its three law firms and didn't report any debt owed to the other lawyers.