Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore

DeLay's golf trip scrutinized
Travis County DA wants records of Scotland outing Abramoff arranged

Feb. 2, 2006, 5:03AM

AUSTIN - Travis County prosecutors on Wednesday subpoenaed records related to a 2000 golf trip to Scotland that was arranged for U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay by now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The subpoenas appear to have little direct relationship to the political money laundering case that Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has brought against DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

His office declined to comment on the new subpoenas.

Last month, Abramoff pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of defrauding his Indian tribal clients, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe a public official.

Court papers referred only to one congressman, U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio. Abramoff was a longtime friend of DeLay's, but DeLay has said he is not a target of that investigation.

Clients paid for trip

Earle, meanwhile, has issued a series of subpoenas that DeLay's criminal defense lawyer, Dick DeGuerin of Houston, has said are not relevant to the case against the former U.S. House majority leader.

Earle's latest round of subpoenas seeks records related to how Abramoff paid for a May 2000 trip to Scotland for DeLay and his wife, Christine, on his personal credit card and then received reimbursement from the National Center for Public Policy Research.

The trip ultimately was financed by two of Abramoff's clients, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and eLottery. At the time, they were trying to kill a bill prohibiting the expansion of Internet gambling.

DeLay's personal financial disclosures listed the trip as educational and put the tab at $28,106.

DeLay's lawyers have maintained that he never knew Abramoff had paid for part of the trip initially or that his clients really funded the trip.

His spokesmen have said he opposed the gambling bill because it contained loopholes that actually would have led to the expansion of Internet gambling.

Others on the Scotland trip included lobbyist Ed Buckham, a former DeLay chief of staff. At the time, DeLay's wife was employed by Buckham's Alexander Strategy Group.

DeLay legislative aides Tony Rudy and Susan Hirschmann also were on the trip.

The subpoenas seek records on the trip from Christine DeLay, Buckham, Rudy and Hirschmann. Other subpoenas were issued to eLottery, Amy Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research, and to Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, the law firm that employed Abramoff at the time.

Subpoenas also were issued to Continental Airlines and British Airways for records of the trip.

Previous subpoenas

Earle has previously subpoenaed records from Preston Gates and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians relating to donations they made to the DeLay-founded Texans for a Republican Majority, TRMPAC.

The Choctaw band gave TRMPAC $1,000 in 2001, and Preston Gates donated $25,000 in 2002.

Neither the Indians nor the law firm are among those organizations accused of making illegal donations to TRMPAC.

Earle obtained an indictment against DeLay and two associates accusing them of participating in a scheme to convert illegal corporate donations to TRMPAC into money that could be used by seven Texas House candidates in 2002 by running the money through the Republican National Committee.

Delay has denied the charges and accused Earle, a Democrat, of running a politically motivated investigation against him.

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