|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
GOP sends cash, Cheney to Texas
Sept. 28, 2006
Staff And Wire Reports
The national Republican Party has joined the fight to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, donating more than $100,000 to the Republican candidate's write-in candidacy and sending Vice President Dick Cheney to a Houston fundraiser for her next week.
Although the party has yet to deliver anywhere near the $3 million once claimed by state GOP Chairwoman Tina Benkhiser, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee confirmed Wednesday that the group had donated $99,465 to assist the campaign of GOP candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.
Cheney is scheduled to appear in Houston on Oct. 4.
Jared Woodfill, Harris County Republican chairman, said Sekula-Gibbs announced Cheney's visit when she addressed the county's Republican executive committee Tuesday.
Texas court to reconsider DeLay charge
By APRIL CASTRO Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press
Sept. 13, 2006, 10:14AM
AUSTIN, Texas — The state's highest criminal appeals court said Wednesday it would consider reinstating a conspiracy charge against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, further delaying his felony money laundering trial.
A Travis County grand jury indicted DeLay and two political consultants last year on charges stemming from Republican fundraising during the 2002 legislative races.
A state district court judge later threw out one of two conspiracy charges. Prosecutors asked the appeals court to reinstate the dropped charge, and the court said Wednesday that it would consider that request.
Judge Pat Priest said he would proceed with DeLay's trial when the appeals process has ended.
DeLay stepped down as majority leader after the charges were filed and announced his resignation from Congress a few months later. He and other Texas Republicans have accused prosecutor Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, of conducting a political vendetta.
"It's just another bump in the road," DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said Wednesday. "I thought they would just refuse to get involved but at the same time, I'm not really shocked by it."
Earle did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press.
Both sides will be given time to file their arguments with the Court of Criminal Appeals, which will then set a date for oral arguments. A ruling is not likely to come before next year, said Ed Marty, general counsel to the court.
Prosecutors accuse DeLay and the two consultants of violating state law by funneling $190,000 in illegal corporate money to the Republican National Committee, which then donated the same amount to Texas candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money can't be directly used for political campaigns.
DeLay and the consultants, Jim Ellis and John Colyandro, say the transaction was legal.
The dispute over the dismissed charge centers on whether the conspiracy statute applied to the state's election code in 2002. DeLay was accused of conspiring to violate the election code, but his attorneys say that transaction was not illegal at the time. DeGuerin says the dropped charge accuses DeLay of conspiring to violate the election code as it stood in 2003.
The other conspiracy count DeLay faces accuses him of conspiring to launder money.
Lobbying-and-bribery probe eyes payments to DeLay's wife
Published: Wednesday September 6, 2006
Recent FBI interviews with members of a lobbying firm indicate that the Justice Department is investigating whether former House Majority Leader Tom Delay's wife earned $115,000 over three years for a no-show job, according to an article by The Wall Street Journal.
"The two-year investigation is examining whether lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others sought legislative favors for their clients by offering expensive meals, sports tickets, golf outings and other gifts to about a dozen lawmakers and congressional aides," reports Brody Mullins.
Excerpts from the WSJ story:
In the last few weeks, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have interviewed several people at the Alexander Strategy Group lobbying firm to determine if Christine DeLay was being paid $3,200 a month -- a total of $115,000 over three years -- but not earning it. In a series of interviews last month, investigators questioned people who used to work at Alexander Strategy as well as people who worked in the same building as the now-defunct firm. "They wanted to know how often she came to the office? What did she do there? How long was she there?" said one person who was interviewed by the FBI.
Alexander Strategy was run by a pair of Mr. DeLay's former aides: Tony Rudy, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges in March; and Edwin Buckham, who remains under investigation. The firm also shared clients with Jack Abramoff.
In last month's interviews, investigators also asked about $144,000 that Mrs. DeLay received from one of Mr. DeLay's fund-raising committees, the Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee, which was housed at the lobbying firm's offices. Investigators also inquired about fees paid to Mr. DeLay's daughter, Dani DeLay Ferro, a longtime political consultant to her father.
Richard Cullen, a lawyer for the DeLay family, said Mrs. DeLay was a "key adviser to her husband and her employment at Armpac and Alexander Strategy was real and valuable." Mr. Cullen has said that Mrs. DeLay's job at the firm was to compile a list of lawmakers' favorite charities. Neither Mr. DeLay nor his wife has been interviewed by the Justice Department, Mr. Cullen said.
Political soap opera
The plot lines in the race to replace Tom DeLay in Congress just keep getting more tangled.
2006 Houston Chronicle
When former Congressman Tom DeLay bailed out of his District 22 seat a month after winning the Republican nomination this spring, little did he know that his defection would wind up creating dual races, with Democrat Nick Lampson holding the inside track to the one that counts.
A court battle waged by Texas Democrats prevented Republicans from replacing DeLay's name on the ballot. That made Lampson the favorite to win a two-year term in the general election. Write-in candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, a Houston City councilwoman endorsed by the Republican Party, is given little chance to win because of the difficulty in registering write-in votes and the presence of a second certified Republican write-in candidate, Don Richardson.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry added a final touch of the absurd this week by calling a special election on the same date to fill the final two months of DeLay's term. Lampson promptly announced he would not participate in the special election. That means the winner will likely serve in Congress for less than two months before being replaced.
Sekula-Gibbs has filed for the special election. Should she choose to set up a 2008 rematch with Lampson, she would benefit from the brief exposure as a holiday season member of Congress. The drawback is that if she wins the special election she will have to resign her at-large position on City Council, forfeiting a year of political visibility in that position. That would also necessitate a costly special citywide election to replace her on council, triggering a rush of municipal hopefuls to fill out the term.
As a result of the electoral twists and turns, Republicans going to the polls in District 22 in November will need to master the write-in process, and everybody will have to figure out why they are voting for the same seat twice.
However it turns out, this election is guaranteed to provide political scientists a trove of future research material on voter behavior.