DeLay’s Funding Hustle

Tom DeLay, the Cockroach King, who has effortlessly made everybody’s list of the Top Ten Most Corrupt Republican Officials against pretty stiff competition from the likes of Dick ‘Halliburton’s still paying me and you can go fuck yourself if you don’t like it’ Cheney and Junior ‘Sure that government agency is for sale, Kenny-Boy, the prices are pinned to the bulletin board’ Bush, is once again up to his ear-holes in a scheme to break the only campaign financing law Texas has (not a joke–literally true).

In May 2001, Enron’s top lobbyists in Washington advised the company chairman that then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was pressing for a $100,000 contribution to his political action committee, in addition to the $250,000 the company had already pledged to the Republican Party that year.DeLay requested that the new donation come from “a combination of corporate and personal money from Enron’s executives,” with the understanding that it would be partly spent on “the redistricting effort in Texas,” said the e-mail to Kenneth L. Lay from lobbyists Rick Shapiro and Linda Robertson.

The e-mail, which surfaced in a subsequent federal probe of Houston-based Enron, is one of at least a dozen documents obtained by The Washington Post that show DeLay and his associates directed money from corporations and Washington lobbyists to Republican campaign coffers in Texas in 2001 and 2002 as part of a plan to redraw the state’s congressional districts.

DeLay and his colleagues…face serious legal challenges: Texas law bars corporate financing of state legislature campaigns, and a Texas criminal prosecutor is in the 20th month of digging through records of the fundraising, looking at possible violations of at least three statutes. A parallel lawsuit, also in the midst of discovery, is seeking $1.5 million in damages from DeLay’s aides and one of his political action committees — Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) — on behalf of four defeated Democratic lawmakers.

So DeLay financed an unethical, immoral, and anti-democratic re-districting maneuver with illegal corporate money. Actually, for the guy who made a children’s charity a Republican fund-raising front and pioneered the tactic of having state’s AG’s threaten corporations with investigations if they didn’t donate enough scratch, this is pretty tame stuff. A mere technicality, comparatively.

It’s instructive, though, that the top of the Republican House leadership totem pole can’t even manage to obey the one, tiny anti-corruption law on the Texas books. I guess one is too many for Tom. Either he can’t count that high or else his greed is so boundless he can brook no restraints on his collections no matter how minor they are.

Interestingly, even though his name is all over the documents which show that he was clearly behind the whole scam, DeLay himself ‘has not been named as a target of the investigation’.

The prosecutor has said he is focused on the activities of political action committees linked to DeLay and the redistricting effort. But officials in the prosecutor’s office say anyone involved in raising, collecting or spending the corporate money, who also knew of its intended use in Texas elections, is vulnerable.Documents unearthed in the probe make clear that DeLay was central to creating and overseeing the fundraising. What the prosecutors are still assessing is who knew about the day-to-day operations of TRMPAC and how its money was used to benefit Texas House candidates.

Um, Tom DeLay. TRMPAC is his baby. He formed it, defined it, chose who would be involved in it, and ran the show from Washington. That’s no secret, it all came out during the re-districting fight when Delay tried to use the Texas State Police to arrest the Democrats who fled to Oklahoma rather than be forced to officiate at the signing of their own Death Warrant.

But TRMPAC is a ‘target’ and he’s not. Must be nice to have friends in high places.

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