|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
Cheney to campaign for embattled DeLay
BY TODD J. GILLMAN
The Dallas Morning News
WASHINGTON - (KRT) - Battered by months of ethics allegations, Majority Leader Tom DeLay has turned for help to the White House, which is sending Vice President Cheney next month to headline a fund-raiser for him in Houston.
Cheney stumped for about 70 House candidates last year, and another dozen so far this year - mostly newcomers or veterans locked in uphill fights. But with 14 month before DeLay, R-Texas, faces voters in a district whose contours he personally approved, analysts see anxiety over the fate of a lawmaker widely seen as the most powerful majority leader in history.
"It would be such a disaster" for the GOP if DeLay loses, said Ross Baker, a congressional expert at Rutgers University, adding that the decision to send in Cheney looks like payback for DeLay, whose help was crucial on a number of close votes, including Medicare and a bankruptcy law overhaul. "I think what you see is a combination of gratitude and prudence."
The House ethics committee is expected to open an investigation soon into DeLay's travel and his ties with lobbyists. In Texas, three lieutenants face charges of skirting state campaign law. And this month, lobbyist Jack Abramoff - accused of bilking Indian casino clients and illicitly arranging lavish trips for DeLay and others - was charged in an unrelated scheme involving a Florida-based casino ship.
All deny wrongdoing.
Polls show DeLay's support in the district slipping, after his closest race in 22 years - a 55 percent win against an unknown, with little cash. This time, Democrats vow to spend at least $5 million against him.
At the National Republican Congressional Committee, spokesman Carl Forti said DeLay isn't in trouble but is planning for a costly fight.
"With Democrats getting ready to spend millions, he has to spend millions as well. The president and vice president are just huge draws," he said.
Democrat Nick Lampson, DeLay's likely opponent, took the visit as recognition of the traction he's getting in the campaign.
"This is awfully, awfully early," said Lampson, a former four-term House member who lost his Beaumont-based district last year after redistricting, and recently decided to challenge DeLay. "It's got to be a recognition that he is at serious risk of losing his seat."
Cheney aides declined to discuss the event, set for Sept. 16 at the Westin Galleria. Invitations have circulated among Houston-area Republicans.
Voters rarely oust a House leader.
In 1994, a year of huge Democratic setbacks, Speaker Tom Foley, D-Wash., became the first speaker defeated at the polls since 1860. A year earlier, President Clinton helped him raise $150,000 but by all accounts, he hadn't taken the threat too seriously.
Analysts said DeLay may be taking a lesson from Foley. At Washington State University, political scientist Lance Leloup, former director of the Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, says it looks "desperate" for a House leader to lean so heavily on the White House.
"He is in trouble," Leloup said. "It's not one thing and you wait a week and it goes away. Month after month there's some new ethical issue."
Here's what Tom DeLay said about Clinton and Kosovo
Why did he second-guess our commitment to freedom from genocide and demand that we cut and run?
"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarifiedrules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
"You can support the troops but not the president"
"Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly."
"Clinton's bombing campaign has caused all of these problems to explode."
Aug. 15, 2005, 1:00PM
DeLay charges left unduly influences Supreme Court
House majority leader keeps heat on federal bench
By SAMANTHA LEVINE
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
NASHVILLE, TENN. - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay charged Sunday night in a rally at an evangelical church that the "out-of-touch" political left has dangerously and unduly influenced the U.S. Supreme Court.
DeLay was among the dozen speakers at "Justice Sunday II: God Save the United States and this Honorable Court," organized by the Family Research Council and its leader, Tony Perkins. The event was broadcast nationwide by a Christian satellite service.
To occasional shouts of "Amen!" from the audience, DeLay said arguments for same-sex marriage, for instance, have no basis in the Constitution and represent "the frustrated imagination of an out-of-touch political movement whose world view the American people simply will not endorse."
The high court has not allowed same-sex marriages, but opponents of gay rights were alarmed when the court struck down the Texas sodomy law after it was used to prosecute two Houston-area gay men.
DeLay, a born-again Christian, said there is "a movement of judicial activism — principally but not exclusively of the political left — that has found the public will increasingly inconvenient to its designs."
In front of a crowd of roughly 2,100 people, short of the 3,000 tickets that were distributed in Nashville-area churches, the Republican congressman from Sugar Land said the "policies this movement supports simply cannot hope to be passed into law by the democratic process."
DeLay's comments at the Two Rivers Baptist Church fit with his continued criticism of the federal bench. This spring, DeLay said the judges who refused to intervene in the case of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo, as he wished, would have to "answer for for their behavior." He has vowed to increase congressional oversight of the federal judiciary.
Perkins said the purpose of Justice Sunday II was to tell Christians that the court has overstepped its bounds and urge them to lobby for new justices who won't set down "radical public policy."
Perkins insisted, however, that the rally was not meant to build support for President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, who would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
But with partisan tensions rising in advance of Roberts' confirmation hearings, which are set to begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee when Congress reconvenes next month, the timing was hardly coincidental.
Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson said in videotaped remarks that although Roberts' judicial philosophy would only be known once he was on the job, "for now, at least, he looks good."
"We need to defend his nomination," Dobson said, noting that the Supreme Court will soon take up issues including prayer in the schools and physician-assisted suicide.
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., a Methodist minister, was one of several religious leaders who spoke out against Justice Sunday II in advance.
"It is one of the most startling and painful realities of serving in Congress these days because it is said over and over and over again that people don't have faith if they disagree," he said last week.
It is worth noting that the similarities between Jesus and Tom Delay are striking:
Washington lobbyist Abramoff charged with fraud
Aug 11, 6:30 PM (ET)
By Jim Loney
MIAMI (Reuters) - A Washington lobbyist who is a central figure in investigations involving House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was charged on Thursday with defrauding two lenders of $60 million to buy a casino cruise line.
Jack Abramoff, a Republican lobbyist, and Adam Kidan, his partner in the $147.5 million buyout of SunCruz Casino five years ago, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta said.
The two were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors are also seeking restitution of the $60 million.
Federal authorities said they were in the process of arresting Abramoff in Los Angeles and Kidan in Florida.
The indictment alleges that Abramoff and Kidan duped specialty lenders Foothill Capital and Citadel Equity Fund Ltd by pledging to invest $23 million in the purchase of SunCruz in return for the $60 million loan. The indictment alleges the two men offered a fake wire transfer document as proof they had invested the money.
"That document was counterfeit. The defendants never transferred the funds," Acosta, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, told reporters at a news conference in Miami.
Abramoff and Kidan bought the casino cruise empire from Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, a Greek-immigrant entrepreneur who built the cruise line and the Miami Subs restaurant chain. He was shot to death in his car on a Fort Lauderdale street in a gangland-style hit in 2001.
DeLay, a Texas Republican, has faced questions about his ties to lobbyists, foreign trips funded by outside groups and the use of campaign funds. Opponents claim he has engaged in unethical behavior. He has denied the allegations. DeLay's office had no comment on the charges against Abramoff.
The Washington Post reported in April that a plane trip to London and Scotland by DeLay was charged to a credit card issued to Abramoff. Under House ethics rules, lawmakers are prohibited from accepting payment of trips and related expenses from registered lobbyists.
FEC Finds Misreporting by DeLay Committee
Associated Press Writer
August 11, 2005, 11:31 AM EDT
WASHINGTON -- A federal audit of a political fundraising committee founded by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay found that it failed to report more than $300,000 in debts owed to vendors and incorrectly paid for some committee activities with money from another DeLay-connected political committee.
The Federal Election Commission's report didn't indicate whether it would pursue enforcement action against Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee.
ARMPAC's executive director, Jim Ellis, was indicted in Texas in connection with a separate DeLay-connected committee, Texans for a Republican Majority. In that case, Ellis is charged with money laundering and accepting illegal political contributions for state legislative campaigns. DeLay has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case.
DeLay also has been mired in controversy over his connection to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose work for several Indian tribes is under federal investigation.
The FEC's audit of ARMPAC was posted Thursday on the Web site of PoliticalMoneyLine.com, which tracks political fundraising and spending. The audit's contents were made available earlier to ARMPAC officials, who filed corrected reports on contributions and spending in May and June.
A spokesman for DeLay's office referred calls to ARMPAC. Attorneys for DeLay could not be immediately reached.
The FEC found that ARMPAC misreported receipts and the ending cash balance for 2001 activities and the beginning cash-on-hand, receipts, disbursements and ending cash-on-hand for 2002.
ARMPAC also failed to report $322,306 owed to 25 vendors. ARMPAC disclosed the debts in amended reports, the FEC said.
ARMPAC's state, non-federal arm paid some expenses and costs for events and activities that should have been paid by ARMPAC, the report said. ARMPAC representatives are reviewing that portion of the audit and understand "a payment from the federal account to the non-federal account may be required," the FEC said.
Judge refuses to dismiss charges against DeLay associates
Aug. 9, 2005, 11:56AM
AUSTIN — A state district judge today refused to dismiss charges of money laundering and accepting illegal political contributions against two associates of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Judge Bob Perkins denied arguments from John Colyandro and Jim Ellis that the charges were based on an unconstitutionally vague law and that the indictments were improperly worded.
Lawyers for Colyandro, who worked for DeLay's fundraising committee Texans for a Republican Majority, and Jim Ellis, who worked for Americans for a Republican Majority, have said they would appeal, likely delaying any trial for several months.
The charges stem from the 2002 Texas legislative elections. The money laundering charges are based on $190,000 in corporate money that was sent to the Republican National State Elections Committee. That committee then gave the same amount of money in donations to seven Texas House candidates.
Colyandro and Ellis each were indicted on one count of money laundering, and Colyandro faces 13 counts of unlawful acceptance of a corporate political contribution.
DeLay, a Republican from Sugar Land, has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing.
Another defendant, Warren RoBold, a Washington consultant who helped raise money for the committees, also has been indicted on charges of accepting illegal corporate contributions. RoBold was not part of Tuesday's court proceedings.
Races Hatching I: Lampson vs. DeLay
Democrats are pushing donors big and small to help former representative Nick Lampson (D-Tex.) raise $1 million before the end of the year to fund his long-shot bid to oust Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), the House majority leader. Lampson, a victim of DeLay's redistricting effort in the 2004 races, is on target to pocket $750,000 by the end of September, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) said.
But there DeLay has access to some kinds of money that his opponents can't match. He stuffed hundreds of millions of dollars into the energy and transportation bills passed last month to benefit projects in his suburban Houston district. He'll spend much of this month making sure the largess -- including $50 million to improve an interstate that cuts through his district and $324 million for Houston Metro -- does not go unappreciated. On Monday, DeLay will show a softer side, speaking at the opening of the foster care foundation he and his wife started.
In 2004, DeLay spent nearly $3 million to defeat attorney Richard Morrison (D), 55 to 41 percent. Emanuel sees DeLay as one of the top targets in the Democratic strategy to paint Republicans as ethically compromised and abusive of Washington power.
Other GOP names high on what Emanuel calls his ethics hit list: Reps. Robert W. Ney (Ohio), Charles H. Taylor (N.C.) and Richard W. Pombo (Calif.). Republicans say all four targeted Republicans are on pace to win reelection in strong GOP districts.
Races Hatching II: Bell vs. Perry
Speaking of DeLay, his former colleague ex-representative Chris Bell (D-Tex.) is planning to run next year for governor of Texas. Bell broke an unwritten truce last year between the two parties when he filed an ethics complaint against DeLay. Bell, a freshman who earlier that year had been redistricted out of his seat -- thanks to partisan maneuvering directed by DeLay -- is the first major Democrat to indicate he will challenge Gov. Rick Perry (R).
DeLay's Dirty Trick
The Nation: Daily Outrage
Much of the dirty business of Congress is done outside of public debate, during conference negotiations between the House and Senate Republican leadership, after legislation has passed. Eleventh-hour language added to appease the Christian right, repay big business or bring controversial pork-barrel projects back home has become a regular practice for Republicans.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay took this shady scheming to a new low last week, when he "mysteriously inserted" a $1.5 billion sweetheart deal for Houston oil companies into a massive energy bill that supposedly had been finalized. The provision, according to the sharp eye of Rep. Henry Waxman, stipulates that 75 percent of the $1.5 billion allocated for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico must go toward "a corporation that is constructed as a consortium."
The leading contender for the contract just happens to be the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America consortium, based in DeLay's Sugar Land, Texas, district. Its members include war profiteer Halliburton and Marathon Oil, under SEC investigation for bribing the president of Equatorial Guinea for oil rights. Governor Rick Perry created the consortium in March 2004, promising 1,500 jobs. "None had been created as of last December," AP reports.
The provision was apparently added at 4 am last Tuesday, after House Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton, a favored son of big oil, halted all amendments and wrapped up the House and Senate conference. Amazingly, the ranking Democrats on the House and Senate energy committees knew of DeLay's plans, and did nothing to oppose them. The dispute only emerged after Waxman and Rep. Edward Markey learned of the provision, and its intended beneficiaries in DeLay's district.
The lavish giveaway comes at time when the oil and gas industry is amassing record profits, with the net income of top oil companies expected to total $230 billion this year. Yet the overall energy bill passed by Congress on Friday gives billions more in tax breaks for oil, gas and nuclear companies while doing nothing to ease soaring gas prices, raise fuel-efficiency standards or reduce America's crippling dependence on foreign oil. The US currently imports 58 percent of the oil it consumes; analysts predict that figure will jump to 68 percent by 2025.
Such ominous trends prompt few worries from energy companies who rake in staggering profits while the US fights a war in oil-rich Iraq. "How the sausage is made is not important to me," says Melanie Kenderdine of the Gas Technology Institute, part of DeLay's select consortium. That's because it's the rest of us who get stuck with the greasy fat.