|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
After Indictment, DeLay Grossly Distorts Role With TRMPAC
Tom DeLay wants you to believe he was completely in the dark about TRMPAC’s activities. Here’s what DeLay said tonight on Hardball:
That’s TRMPAC. That’s not me…I was simply, along with four other elected officials, on an advisory board. They used my name as headliners for fundraisers and I had no idea what they were doing.
The facts suggest otherwise:
DELAY SAID TRMPAC WAS HIS IDEA: “U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, said Wednesday that it was his idea to create Texans for a Republican Majority.” [Austin American Statesman, 3/10/05]
DELAY ADMITTED HE WAS A “CREATOR, ADVISOR AND FUNDRAISER” FOR TRMPAC: “House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Wednesday he served as a creator, adviser and fund-raiser to a Texas-based political action committee now under state criminal investigation.” [Houston Chronicle, 3/10/04]
TRMPAC LITERATURE NAMES DELAY AS ORGANZATION “LEADER”: “Q: Who is Leading Texas for a Republican Majority? A: The leadership of the PAC includes Rep. Tom DeLay…” [TRMPAC, Q&A For Potential Media Inquires]
EVIDENCE SUGGESTS DELAY WAS INVOLVED IN COLLECTING CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS: “Documents, which were entered into evidence last week in a related civil trial in Austin, the state capital, suggest that Mr. DeLay personally forwarded at least one large corporate check to the committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, and that he was in direct contact with lobbyists for some of the nation’s largest companies on the committee’s behalf.” [New York Times, 3/9/05]
DELAY PARTICIPATED IN TRMPAC FINANCE COMMITTEE CONFERENCE CALLS [TRMPAC, 10/5/02]
For G.O.P., DeLay Indictment Adds to a Sea of Troubles
By ROBIN TONER
September 29, 2005
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 - This is not what the Republicans envisioned 11 months ago, when they were returned to office as a powerful one-party government with a big agenda and - it seemed - little to fear from the opposition.
The indictment of Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader, on Wednesday was the latest in a series of scandals and setbacks that have buffeted Republican leaders in Congress and the Bush administration, and transformed what might have been a victory lap into a hard political scramble. Republicans are still managing to score some victories - notably, Judge John G. Roberts Jr.'s expected confirmation as chief justice of the United States on Thursday - but their governing majority is showing signs of strain.
In the House, Mr. DeLay's indictment removes, even if temporarily, a powerful leader who managed to eke out, again and again, narrow majorities on some difficult votes. In the Senate, Republican ranks have been roiled this week by an investigation of Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, who is under scrutiny for his stock dealings from a blind trust.
Moreover, the string of ethical issues so close together - including the indictment and continuing investigation of the Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was close to Mr. DeLay, and the arrest of David H. Safavian, a former White House budget official who was charged with lying to investigators and obstructing a federal inquiry involving Mr. Abramoff - is a source of anxiety in Republican circles.
"Even though DeLay has nothing to do with Frist, and Frist has nothing to do with Abramoff, how does it look? Not good," said William Kristol, a key conservative strategist and editor of The Weekly Standard.
At the same time, the White House is grappling with a criminal investigation into whether anyone leaked the name of a C.I.A. operative, an inquiry that has brought both Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, and I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, before a grand jury.
And the administration is struggling to steady itself after the slow response to Hurricane Katrina and defend itself against sweeping accusations of incompetence and cronyism in domestic security.
Joe Gaylord, a longtime Republican consultant and an adviser to Newt Gingrich when he was House speaker, said, "When you couple Iraq, Katrina, DeLay in the House, Frist in the Senate," and other ethical flaps, "it looks like 10 years is a long time for a party to be in power."
"And when you add to that gas prices and home-heating prices that are going through the ceiling this winter, it shouldn't give much comfort to the Republicans," Mr. Gaylord said. Such a wave of internal trouble is characteristic of a president's second term, particularly when his party controls Congress.
"We know that second terms have historically been marred by hubris and by scandal," said David R. Gergen, a former aide to presidents in both parties who is now director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
"We've seen the hubris," Mr. Gergen added, alluding to Mr. Bush's effort to restructure Social Security, now stalled. "And now we're seeing the scandals."
Ross K. Baker, an expert on Congress and a political science professor at Rutgers, argues that the lack of normal checks and balances, with each party controlling part of the government, is also a problem.
"What you're stuck with is oversight as a product of scandal, a product of catastrophe," Mr. Baker said. "It requires a blunder of major proportions, a calamity that is poorly addressed, before you get oversight."
Others say the intense competition of current politics - the ferocious ideological divisions combined with the narrowness of any majority - leads to a heightened emphasis on money and, perhaps, a bending of the rules to get it.
"We've constantly had leaders going down in the last 20 years for related issues," said Julian Zelizer, an expert on Congress at Boston University. "Those who are successful, there's a high chance they've pushed the boundaries of money in politics as far as they can go."
In recent months, conservatives have bemoaned the effects of power on their movement, like mounting deficits and ethics problems.
In the 10th anniversary issue of The Weekly Standard last month, Andrew Ferguson lamented the "ease with which the stalwarts commandeered the greasy machinery of Washington power."
"Conservative activists came to Washington to do good and stayed to do well," Mr. Ferguson said. "The grease rubbed off, too."
Eleven years ago, the Republicans took control of Congress - breaking a 40-year Democratic reign in the House - by campaigning as reformers out to derail a Democratic machine that Mr. Gingrich described as endemically, irredeemably corrupt. In fact, as the 1994 election approached, the Democrats endured several ethics scandals, including the fall of a speaker, a majority whip and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Now the Democrats are reaching for the reformers' mantle. More and more, they attack the Republicans as a party riddled with corruption and out of touch with the problems and concerns of ordinary Americans.
Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, telegraphed the assault in an interview on Wednesday. "Their party has run out of both legitimacy and intellectual steam," he said.
A year before the midterm elections, the polls show Congress with a strikingly low approval rating - 34 percent in the most recent New York Times/CBS News Poll, conducted from Sept. 9 to 13. One Republican strategist, who asked not to be identified because of his work with Republicans on Capitol Hill, said of the DeLay indictment: "When you pile it on top of everything else - Iraq, Katrina, gas prices - it's pretty grim. We're still waiting for some sign of good news, something our candidates can run on. This isn't it."
The strategist added: "The Democrats will make the case that Republicans are too busy dealing with their own ethical issues to care about the problems facing the country. And guess what? That charge worked pretty well for us in '92 and '94."
Whether Democrats will be able to make that case is another question; they have internal problems of their own, notably their chronic problem in unifying around a clear message , a challenge the Republicans met with the Contract With America.
But for the Republican majority, the problem in many ways is not the challenge from without, but the second-term problems within.
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