First, the Post: "A six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements." It is against the law for member of Congress to accept travel reimbursements from registered lobbyists and foreign agents.
At the time, DeLay reported that the $57,000 Moscow trip was paid for by a Beltway non-profit outfit. "But interviews with those involved in planning DeLay's trip say the expenses were covered by a mysterious company registered in the Bahamas that also paid for an intensive $440,000 lobbying campaign," the Post reports.
This is now the third overseas trip taken by DeLay that appears to have been paid for by foreign agents. Making matters worse, the lobbyist at the center of DeLay's Moscow trip was the notorious Jack Abramoff, who is now at the center of a federal influence-peddling and corruption probe investigation.
Then there's the Times: "The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees." The paper notes the women's duties, "were described in the disclosure forms as 'fund-raising fees,' 'campaign management' or 'payroll,' with no additional details about how they earned the money."
Over the last three years DeLay's wife and daughter have received, on average, monthly paychecks worth $4,000.
DeLay's political action and campaign committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, is already the target of a criminal investigation, with its executive director "indicted in Texas last year on charges of illegal fund-raising, and prosecutors there have refused to rule out the possibility of charges against Mr. DeLay in the continuing inquiry," notes the Times.
Now, I'm not crowing at all. Well, maybe just a little. Okay, okay, I admit it--it's difficult to type when you're dancing about singing "I Love Life" from Scrooge. Look, if you've been reading this blog for even a month or two, you already know I've been conducting a death watch for DeLay's career ever since he used DHS to facilitate his gerrymandering of Texas. (And DHS, as we all know, has nothing better to do than to assure the political future of corrupt Republicans--hell, that's its whole purpose)
"I believe we have a fair and independent judiciary today. I respect that."This is to be contrasted with DeLay's vows of retribution.
DeLay, a Texas Republican, said afterward: "We will look at an arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at the Congress and president when given jurisdiction to hear this case anew." In a written statement, DeLay said: "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior."
Frist, asked about the furor over the case, told reporters, "I will let members (of Congress) ... speak for themselves."My, that's cold.
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) says Democrats suffered major setbacks in the 1990s when an ethics-challenged leader -- House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.), who resigned in 1989 -- became a larger symbol of his party than its platform issues. "That's a cocktail for disaster," Graham said. If a political leader's personal problems are coupled with "some policy decisions that are disconnected to the public, then you've got an opening" for trouble, he said. "If we don't watch it, it could happen to us."
Graham is wary of some Republicans' calls for further Schiavo-inspired legislation, such as a federal definition of "persistent vegetative state." The states, he said, "are capable of defining end-of-life terms."
And then some words from a Republican pollster, in a position to know reality better than most in the party:
Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio said several national surveys found that 60 to 80 percent of Americans opposed Congress's March 20 intervention in the Schiavo case. Federal courts promptly rejected the lawmakers' directive to review a series of Florida court decisions allowing Schiavo's feeding tube to be removed. One appellate judge chastised Congress and Bush for their actions.
Fabrizio said voters "are probably wondering why we can't get deficit reduction or tax reform or Social Security reform as quickly as we got the Schiavo bill" from the Republican-controlled Congress. Because conservative Christian activists were seen as pushing the legislation, he said, "that's a symbol of what your [party's] priorities are, and you'd better show them another symbol."
...former GOP senator John C. Danforth of Missouri, an ordained Episcopal minister, wrote a New York Times op-ed article criticizing his party's emphasis on opposing stem cell research, same-sex marriage and Schiavo's husband. "Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians," he wrote.It appears God's veil of protection is about to be removed from DeLay.
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