|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
December 2, 2004
Reports yesterday confirmed House Majority Leader Tom DeLay took $100,000 from the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)—a private prison company—at an August fund-raiser for his children's charity, the DeLay Foundation for Kids. CCA has a 20-year history of mismanagement and malfeasance and continues to lobby for a bill that would privatize up to half of the jails in the state of Texas. As one of Texas's leading politicians, and the chief architect of the behind-the-scenes campaign to redraw congressional boundaries in Texas that is now under grand jury investigation, DeLay's involvement with CCA is no accident.
DeLay's shady dealings with CCA are part of an ongoing pattern of unethical behavior in Washington and Texas. DeLay has been rebuked three separate times by the House Ethics Committee for improper fundraising methods and was caught last year using his children's charity as cover for collecting soft money for events at the Republican National Convention.
DeLay has no problem taking money from corporations in return for favorable access to the legislative process. CCA's "contribution" to DeLay was not by chance. In November 2003, Texas awarded the company a lucrative contract for the management of more than 8,300 beds in seven state prisons. Its lobbying effort to expand the share of state prison beds that can be privatized was thwarted last year only because of aggressive last-minute opposition from Texas's prison guards, who stood to absorb pay cuts of up to 40 percent.
Americans deserve to know all of DeLay's "charitable" donors and their legislative interests. Voters have a right to know whether their leaders are taking money from lobbyists, corporations, and other groups who have significant interests before Congress and state legislatures. Given DeLay's troubling ethical patterns, he should release the full list of donors to his charity for public review.
Daily Talking Points is a product of the American Progress Action Fund.
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