Tom DeLay's Money-Go-Round

The AP chases down some interesting documents relating to the Tom DeLay fundraising hoo-hah. It appears that DeLay deliberately raised more money than required to throw fancy parties at the GOP convention in 2000, and wound up handing a good deal of the surplus to Roy Blunt, the hardy Missouri House warrior designated as DeLay's replacement last week. The two cash-happy Congressman then filtered it through a couple of obliging Republican committees and whatnot, and presto:

DeLay's private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt's son all ended up with money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Oh, and hey, look--it's Jack Abramoff!:

Much of the money -- including one donation to Blunt from an Abramoff client accused of running a "sweatshop" garment factory in the Northern Mariana Islands -- changed hands in the spring of 2000, a period of keen interest to federal prosecutors.

During that same time, Abramoff arranged for DeLay to use a concert skybox for donors and to take a golfing trip to Scotland and England that was partly underwritten by some of the lobbyist's clients. Prosecutors are investigating whether the source of some of the money was disguised, and whether some of DeLay's expenses were originally put on the lobbyist's credit card in violation of House rules.

Of course, DeLay and Blunt both maintain that--wait for it, wait for it--it was all perfectly legal: "This was disclosed to the extent required to be disclosed by applicable law," said Don McGahn, a lawyer for DeLay. "It just shows that donors don't control funds once they're given."

Oh, all right then. You just take anyone's money, and it just coincidently happens to fall into the hands of, let's see, a tax-free charity you operate, your wife's consulting firm, and your crony-protege's son--who now is the governor of Missouri. It's all good, dudes--no hard feelings. In fact, why not just go ahead and name someone to the Supreme Court or the head of FEMA?

AP: Blunt, DeLay Traded Secret Donations [Via Salon, so irritating ultramercial viewing--and encounter with scary site redesign--required]


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