|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
DeLay distances self from Abramoff
Feb. 9, 2006, 9:21PM
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay is trying to distance himself from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in letters to GOP voters.
DeLay sent a nine-page letter to voters saying "the notion that he was a close friend who wielded influence over me is absolutely untrue," according to a report today in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.
But numerous media reports have said DeLay once described Abramoff as "one of my closest and dearest friends."
"This letter simply puts in his writing what he's been saying all along to the people back here in the district," said campaign spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty. She said the letter is another way of DeLay openly and honestly countering "these manufactured Democrat attacks."
DeLay told voters in his letter that he and Abramoff were not close personal friends, he only met with Abramoff occasionally and did not give him preferential treatment, Roll Call reported.
"To be certain, I knew nothing about the crimes for which he has pled guilty," DeLay wrote.
Abramoff pleaded guilty in January to federal charges in an investigation stemming from his schemes to bribe public officials and defraud Indian tribes. He has been cooperating with investigators, who shifted their probe to members of Congress and some of their aides.
DeLay is awaiting trial on money laundering charges in a separate campaign finance case in Texas.
DeLay faces a four-way primary on March 7 for re-election to his suburban Houston congressional seat. The victor will face former Rep. Nick Lampson, a Democrat.
The campaign of Sugar Land attorney Tom Campbell, a DeLay primary challenger, said DeLay's description of his relationship with Abramoff is a "flip-flop." DeLay told Christian Broadcast Network in an recent interview that Abramoff was his friend, the campaign said.
"Why, now, is DeLay running from the truth and his unequivocal declaration about Abramoff?" said Michael Stanley, Campbell's spokesman.
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