- The company ESRI verified that it was issued a subpoena in the [sw: Jerry Lewis] (R-Calif.) investigation. The San Bernardino Sun also reports that the documents released by another subpoena recipient, San Bernardino County, show Lewis recommending "in 2002 that the county hire The Tom Skancke Co., a Las Vegas firm that lobbies Congress and does public-relations work." During the aftermath of the Duke Cunningham conviction when the spotlight turned to Lewis the congressman bluntly declared, "It is an ironclad rule in my office that we do not recommend lobbyists, even if a constituent asks for that recommendation."
- A district aide to [sw: Bob Ney] (R-Ohio) was subpoenaed in the federal investigation into influence peddling by lobbyist Jack Abramoff. According to the Associated Press, "The subpoena for Matthew Parker, director of Ney's district office in St. Clairsville, was issued by a federal magistrate in Washington and announced Thursday."
- Former DeLay chief of staff Tony Rudy is seeking to escape Washington, DC and move to California. Rudy, who pled guilty in the Abramoff investigation, must get an okay from a judge before he can escape the city that was his undoing.
- Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman (D) was found guilty of "trading government favors for campaign donations". That makes Siegelman the third Governor to be found guilty by a court over the past few years and the second to go to jail. Kentucky's Governor Ernie Fletcher has also been indicted and will face trial. Continue reading
- Roll Call reports that the Justice Department has broken new ground by charging former congressional staffers-turned-lobbyists Tony Rudy and Neil Volz with violating the one-year ban on lobbying their former employers.
- The Los Angeles Times provides more information on the close relationship between former OMB and GSA employee David Safavian and criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff. We are also reminded, through Safavian's emails, that Safavian never stops kissing up to Abramoff ("Let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do to help.")
- The Hill reports that 40 percent of earmarks would go unmarked and unnoticed thanks to loopholes in the lobbying and ethics "reform" bills passed by the Senate and the House.
- Top Bush donor Tom Noe wants to change his "not guilty" plea to a "guilty" plea in a case where he is charged with illegally funnelling money to the President's campaign, according to the Associated Press.
- The Washington Times interviews anti-pork crusader Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). Continue reading
According to Raw Story, former DeLay aide and official member of the "pled guilty" caucus Tony Rudy directed his client Stoli Vodka to donate $20,000 to the Abramoff controlled National Center for Public Policy Research. Rudy took an $8,000 cut while the head of NCPPR Amy Ridenour wrote a favorable op-ed for Stoli that is still displayed on their website. Ridenour and the NCPPR have become notorious for writing favorable pieces about Abramoff clients after those clients gave the nonprofit hefty contributions.Continue reading
Yesterday the New York Times reported on the involvement of spouses and family members in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Julie Doolittle, the wife of Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), “has been subpoenaed … and questioned by the F.B.I.” about her “marketing and events-planning work for Mr. Abramoff’s lobbying firm and for his Washington restaurant, Signatures”. Rep. Tom DeLay’s wife Christine “received $115,000 in consulting fees from 1998 to 2002” from the U.S. Family Network, a nonprofit run by former DeLay chief of staff Ed Buckham who is currently “under scrutiny by the Justice Department because of his lobbying contacts with Mr. DeLay’s House office.” Lisa Rudy, the wife of Tony Rudy, the ex-deputy chief of staff to DeLay who pled guilty last week, “received $50,000 in consulting fees as a result of what her husband has acknowledged was a corrupt scheme with Mr. Abramoff to influence the workings of Mr. DeLay’s office and promote the concerns of Mr. Abramoff’s clients on Capitol Hill.” Wendy Buckham, the wife of Ed Buckham, “shared more than $1 million in consulting fees with her husband from the U.S. Family Network, a nonprofit group tied to Mr. DeLay. The group has drawn the scrutiny of law enforcement officials because so much of its income was directed to the Buckham family and appears to have come from Russian businessmen eager to court favor from Mr. DeLay.” The Times also provides a graphic illustrating the connections to family members in this bribery scheme.Continue reading
The New York Times reports that Tom DeLay (R-TX) had become dispirited by the ethics scandals surrounding him, particularly following the guilty plea filed by his ex-aide Tony Rudy that implicated Ed Buckham, one of DeLay’s closest aides and friends. An associate of DeLay told the Times, “Tony Rudy and especially Ed Buckham were more than just former colleagues — they are Tom DeLay's friends.” Rep. Ray LaHood (R-TX) also stated about Rudy and Buckham, “Every story that is written will include DeLay's name, that's for sure.” Knight Ridder reports that DeLay’s decision is clearly related to the Rudy plea deal and the prosecution surrounding him. Kendall Coffey, a former federal prosecutor, tells KR, “Any rational person in his (DeLay's) position would be very concerned. Whether it’s working up the ladder at Enron or a drug organization, it’s classic strategy to work up by getting plea agreements and cooperation at each level.” The Washington Post interviewed a former aide to both DeLay and Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) who stated that DeLay’s reason for putting of his resignation announcement until after the primary election was to convert campaign contributions into money for his legal defense fund. “He needed to raise money for the defense fund. That was the bottom line. He wanted to make sure he could take care of himself in the court of law.” The National Journal provides a timeline of DeLay’s troubles from 1997 to his announced resignation.Continue reading
Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R-TX) ex-deputy chief of staff Tony Rudy pleaded guilty to fraud charges stemming from “a bribery scheme that began in 1997 and ran through 2004,” according to Roll Call. The bribery scheme is the same one that brought Jack Abramoff and former DeLay spokesman Michael Scanlon to justice and has ensnared numerous members of Congress, most notably Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), who is mentioned in the plea deals of Abramoff, Scanlon, and now Rudy. While DeLay was not singled out in the Rudy plea his “single closest adviser” and former chief of staff Ed Buckham was implicated in the scheme. The majority of the actions noted in the Rudy plea occur from 2000-2002. Rudy’s actions from 1997 to 1999 are not detailed in the plea deal. The New York Daily News notes that the corruption probe is encircling DeLay. A “knowledgeable source” notes that Rudy and Buckham, “were Batman and Robin. Tony didn't do anything without Buckham's say-so. ... Buckham was Batman.”Continue reading
Tom DeLay (R-TX) remains in legal limbo with regards to the unfolding Jack Abramoff scandal that is roiling Congress, according to the Houston Chronicle. DeLay, who is under indictment for laundering money in Texas, “is likely to be linked to the probe for the foreseeable future because of his previous close association with Abramoff” despite recent comments made by Abramoff in a Vanity Fair interview about DeLay. Abramoff stated that “he didn't extensively lobby DeLay, partly because they already were in tune as conservatives.” However, DeLay’s involvement in any wrongdoing hinges on the cooperation of a former top aide, Tony Rudy, currently under investigation by the Justice Department. Rudy “is believed to be cooperating with federal officials, and sources close to the case said he is expected to reach a plea deal with the Justice Department.” Meanwhile, judicial partisanship may pop up again in DeLay’s appeal attempts on money laundering charges. One of the appeals court judges donated money to an opponent of prosecutor Ronnie Earle and another worked with an organization that had close ties to DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority, the PAC at the center of the money laundering case.Continue reading
Justice Department prosecutors issued subpoenas for the records of the U.S. Family Network, a non-profit started in 1996 by Ed Buckham, then-chief of staff to Tom DeLay (R-TX). According to the National Journal, of particular interest to prosecutors is a $15,600 payment by the U.S. Family Network “to Liberty Consulting, a firm run by Lisa Rudy, the wife of Tony Rudy, who was a deputy chief of staff to DeLay before becoming a lobbying colleague of Abramoff's.” Tony Rudy has subsequently been named in Abramoff’s plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Named in the subpoena of the U.S. Family Network are Tony and Lisa Rudy; Ed Buckham and his wife, Wendy; “several dozen other individuals and groups that have been linked to Abramoff by investigators and news reports;” and Abramoff associates Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist.Continue reading