Sunday, April 10, 2005


The Banshee Screams for Bug Man Meat

Josh Marshall has two new goodies on Tom DeLay -- or as I've come to think of him, the Gift That Keeps On Giving. Some folks are upset that DeLay hasn't gone down yet, but instead is just getting "drip drip drip". We WANT the drip drip drip. We WANT DeLay and his buddies to waste months and millions on defending him -- even as their own reputations go down the tubes, because so many of the DeLay scandals involve the religio-racist right. We WANT DeLay and his minions to think he has a chance at surviving the next year and a half. But he doesn't. Even if everything that was revealed in the last few weeks were to vanish -- even the Abramoff stuff -- DeLay is still toasty-toast from everything that's already out there. Check out this passage from an article in yesterday's Salon:

It was not a good news week for "the Hammer." But DeLay was damaged goods six months before any of these stories were reported. He had been admonished by the House Ethics Committee three times in the course of one month last year -- a record for unincarcerated members of the House. Three political operatives (one a close associate) who run a Texas political action committee DeLay set up in 2001 are under indictment in Texas -- one of them facing a 99-year sentence. Eight corporations have also been indicted for alleged illegal contributions to DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC).

As was first reported here, DeLay himself accepted a $25,000 TRMPAC contribution from a Reliant Energy Corp. lobbyist. (The lobbyist, Drew Maloney, had served on DeLay's House staff before moving on to K Street.) Previously I reported that the Williams Cos., one of the eight corporations under indictment in Texas, had addressed to "Congressman Tom DeLay" a letter conveying "$25,000 for the TRMPAC that we pledged at the June 2, 2002 fundraiser." (Contributing or accepting corporate money for use in a political campaign is against Texas law.)

This month a state district judge in Austin will hand down his decision in a civil case filed by five Democratic state house candidates targeted by DeLay's PAC in the 2002 election. (For an account of that trial and a look at documents that will ultimately be introduced in the TRMPAC criminal trial, see Jake Bernstein's article, "TRMPAC in Its Own Words," in the April 1 issue of the Texas Observer. Bernstein and his colleague Dave Mann previously broke a pay-to-play story in which TRMPAC fundraisers offered donors specific legislation in return for their contributions.)

DeLay's a 500-pound shark hooked on Ronnie Earle's 600-pound test line. Even if nothing else gets him, Earle will. But it's beginning to look as if some other folks might cut into the queue ahead of Earle to extract their pounds of flesh from the Bug Man.

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