House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists. DeLay, who is now House majority leader, has said that his expenses on this trip were paid by a nonprofit organization and that the financial arrangements for it were proper. He has also said he had no way of knowing that any lobbyist might have financially supported the trip, either directly or through reimbursements to the nonprofit organization.
The documents obtained by The Washington Post, including receipts for his hotel stays in Scotland and London and billings for his golfing during the trip at the famed St. Andrews course in Scotland, substantiate for the first time that some of DeLay's expenses on the trip were billed to charge cards used by the two lobbyists. The invoice for DeLay's plane fare lists the name of what was then Abramoff's lobbying firm, Preston Gates & Ellis.
Multiple sources, including DeLay's then-chief of staff Susan Hirschmann, have confirmed that DeLay's congressional office was in direct contact with Preston Gates about the trip itinerary before DeLay's departure, to work out details of his travel. These contacts raise questions about DeLay's statement that he had no way of knowing about the financial and logistical support provided by Abramoff and his firm.
DeLay Airfare Was Charged To Lobbyist's Credit Card
I think DeLay is done in Republican leadership. Between his indictment in Texas and his whole host of other ethics violations, other Republicans are clamoring over each other to have a new leadership structure in place by the beginning of next year. If DeLay were somehow to claw his way back into a leadership seat, the GOP would be killed hit by the "culture of corruption" label that is hanging like a 50 pound weight in the 2006 elections. Republicans are already back on their heels. As they say, "in politics, we are all in this alone."