Friday, January 06, 2006

GOP RATS FLEE FROM THE ALPHA RAT

OH DEAR! It appears that there is a pox on DeLay and the sheep in the herd are beginning to stray. Conservative and moderate GOP lawmakers are attempting to "distance" themselves from their corruption infested leader.

HOUSE GOP CALLS FOR DELAY REPLACEMENT

GOP RATS FLEE DELAY THE ALPHA RAT

FROM BLOOMBERG: "DELAY INC. LOBBYING FIRM HAS LINKS TO THREE CAPITAL SCANDALS"

Uh oh! Perhaps this is the straw that broke the GOP lawmakers' back?

Excerpts:

Alexander Strategy's links to lawmakers are an outgrowth of a decade-long effort by DeLay, 58, to force lobbying firms to hire more Republicans, who can direct corporate money to the party. The system, known as ``DeLay Inc.'' or ``the K Street Project,'' has fueled a surge of money in politics, and critics say it has also created the potential for greater corruption.

``Alexander Strategy Group is really part of DeLay Inc. and Abramoff Inc.,'' said Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who now heads Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an ethics watchdog group. ``There have been some aggressive prosecutors trying to unravel those ties. I am sure that Alexander Strategy is going to have more than Tony Rudy as a problem when this is over.''

DELAY INC. FIRM'S LINKS TO SCANDALS

ON ATTEMPTS TO BRING THE ALPHA RAT TO JUSTICE

Ronnie Earle of Texas widens his investigation on DeLay's "alleged" wrong doings. Hey Ronnie, you'll need to quadruple your staff to research the bottomless pit of DeLay's crimes. Need any volunteers? I can send you boatloads of names.

Received this gem of a piece from my friend Ken tonight. Thanks, Ken, as always!

By Laylan Copelin
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Friday, January 06, 2006

Travis County prosecutors continued looking for more Washington links to buttress their money-laundering case against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, particularly any connection to indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle on Thursday subpoenaed records involving a $500,000 contribution of corporate money from the National Republican Congressional Committee in 1999 to the now-defunct U.S. Family Network, a nonprofit group founded by former DeLay chief of staff Ed Buckham.

This week, Earle subpoenaed some of Abramoff's clients and past employers' records.

Last year, the Federal Election Commission fined the National Republican Congressional Committee $280,000 for improperly using corporate money to pay for radio ads criticizing Democrats in the 2000 congressional elections.

DeLay and his co-defendants, John Colyandro of Austin and Jim Ellis of Washington, are accused of laundering $190,000 of corporate money into political donations during the 2002 state legislative elections.

Texas law generally prohibits spending corporate money in connection with campaigns.

The defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

The National Republican Congressional Committee ostensibly gave the $500,000, one of its largest donations to an outside group, because Buckham's network would advocate for traditional family values.

Instead, Americans for Economic Growth, a nonprofit corporation that Ellis had done work for, used more than half the $500,000 for two radio spots accusing Democratic members of Congress of raiding the Social Security surplus to pay for "foreign aid and big government programs."

Ellis heads DeLay's Washington fundraising committee, has managed his campaigns and consulted with DeLay's Texas associates on how to win the 2002 state races.

In the National Republican Congressional Committee example, the FEC concluded that the national GOP committee knew that all or most of the corporate money would be used to pay for issue ads. Under federal law, at least 65 percent of the money spent on the ads should have been so-called hard money donations from individuals, not money from corporations or labor unions.

The GOP committee initially turned down Buckham's request for the money. It later gave him the $500,000 without approval of the organization's executive committee and without all the usual signatures by the GOP committee's leadership.

"The NRCC representative who hand-delivered the check to Mr. Buckham made statements at the time to the effect that the NRCC did not want to know how the funds would be used," the FEC stated.

The FEC order did not identify who delivered the check.

Travis County prosecutors apparently became interested in the 1999 transaction after The Washington Post reported that U.S. Family Network was almost entirely financed by corporations linked to Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist who pleaded guilty this week to multiple federal charges as part of a federal investigation into possible corruption of Congress.

The subpoenas targeted Buckham, the GOP congressional committee, a DeLay political committee and Americans for Economic Growth.

Most could (not?) be reached for comment late Thursday, but an NRCC spokesman, Carl Forti, told The Associated Press: "I'm going to call Roswell (New Mexico) and warn them that Ronnie Earle is on the witch hunt for the Martians they have there."

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