The Associated Press reports that Tom DeLay’s (R-TX) office knew that Jack Abramoff, and not the National Center for Public Policy Research, was behind the funding and coordination of a controversial 2000 trip to Scotland:
Prosecutors have e-mails showing Rep. Tom DeLay’s office knew lobbyist Jack Abramoff had arranged the financing for the GOP leader’s controversial European golfing trip in 2000 and was concerned “if someone starts asking questions.”
House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting free trips from lobbyists. DeLay, R-Texas, reported to Congress that a Republican advocacy group had paid for the spring 2000 trip that DeLay, his wife and top aides took to Scotland and England.
The e-mails obtained by The Associated Press show DeLay’s staff asked Abramoff — not the advocacy group — to account for the costs that had to be legally disclosed on congressional travel forms. DeLay’s office was worried the group being cited as paying the costs might not even know about them, the e-mails state.
Federal investigators are looking into whether “DeLay filed false public reports to disguise the source and size of political donations, travel and other gifts he received from special interests.” Both Tony Rudy and Jack Abramoff have already pled guilty and have agreed to cooperate. Kent Cooper, the former chief of public disclosure for the Federal Election Commission says, “It clearly shows some members live in a dream world of high-class living and fictional accounting. DeLay’s office was part of the public deception.”