Friday, January 06, 2006

DeLay and the Abramoff Fallout

Busy day at work and not much time for blogging, but there were a couple of stories on the Abramoff scandal and the continuing fallout, especially for the former House Majority leader, Tom DeLay.

As Republicans fall overthemselves to return the money they received from Abramoff (Purging Capitol Hill's oldest profession), more and more republicans are coming to grips with the fact that the party cannot maintain a semblance of respectability and retain DeLay as their leader. (After Abramoff, a GOP Scramble). Today, 12 Republican congressmen called for new elections to be held (Republicans calling for elections to replace DeLay)

"We have commitments for about 25 signatures. The letter calls for a leadership election for a permanent majority leader," said Matthew Specht, a spokesman for Rep. Jeff Flake (news, bio, voting record), a conservative Arizona Republican.

Fifty House Republican signatures are needed to call elections, which would occur after the House reconvenes on January 31.

The Wall Street Journal write an interesting piece on how the GOP needs to do a wholesale house cleaning if it is to return to the party it claims to be. (Cleaning House).

Here's a better strategy: Banish the Abramoff crowd from polite Republican society, and start remembering why you were elected in the first place.

The scandal has also given the Texas prosecutor, Ronnie Earl, more ammunition ( Prosecutor Broadens DeLay Inquiry). With this new inquiry, it will continue to drag out the legal process, making the party continue without permanent leadership. With the Abramoff cooperation, Earl is now looking into DeLay's connections with the not-for-profit group, U.S. Family Network, which received large donations and other shady deals (Earle seeks money record)

The subpoenas seek documents and correspondence from the National Republican Congressional Committee in regard to the group's 1999 contribution to the U.S. Family Network. Subpoenas also were issued for Edwin Buckham, of Frederick, Md., a former DeLay chief of staff who set up the family network; and Christopher Geeslin, a Frederick, Md., pastor who served as the network's president.

The network was used to promote causes championed by DeLay, according to the Washington Post.

The group raised $2.5 million from three Abramoff clients, including $1 million from Russian businessmen, the Post reported. Abramoff worked with Buckham to organize a 1997 trip to Moscow by DeLay.

Buckham's lobbying firm, the Alexander Strategy Group, employed DeLay's wife, Christine, paying her $115,00 during three years. DeLay's lawyers have said she was paid to determine the favorite charities of members of Congress.

Earle also issued subpoenas to Americans for Economic Growth and the Americans for a Republican Majority PAC for records regarding the $500,000 contribution.

DeLay cannot blame the Abramoff problems on the MSM or an over zealous prosecutor. If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Now, the only question is, who gave who the fleas?

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