A top adviser to former House Whip Tom DeLay received more than a third of all the money collected by the U.S. Family Network, a nonprofit organization the adviser created to promote a pro-family political agenda in Congress, according to the group's accounting records.
DeLay's former chief of staff, Edwin A. Buckham, who helped create the group while still in DeLay's employ, and his wife, Wendy, were the principal beneficiaries of the group's $3.02 million in revenue, collecting payments totaling $1,022,729 during a five-year period ending in 2001, public and private records show.
The group's revenue was drawn mostly from clients of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to its records. From an FBI subpoena for the records, it can be inferred that the bureau is exploring whether there were links between the payments and favorable legislative treatment of Abramoff's clients by DeLay's office.
Today paleo-conservative dinosaur Robert Novak writing on a notorious far right web site says that Abramoff is not going to rat out Tom Delay (R-TX), but may implicate Rep. Robert Ney (R). Of course Novak is also calling Gore's decision not to run in 2008 "surprising". Only surprising to moonbattie conservatives.
The group's payments to the Buckhams — in the form of a monthly retainer as well as commissions on donations by Abramoff's clients — overlapped briefly with Edwin Buckham's service as chief of staff to DeLay and continued during his subsequent role as DeLay's chief political adviser.
During this latter period, Buckham and his wife, Wendy, acting through their consulting firm, made monthly payments averaging $3,200-$3,400 apiece to DeLay's wife, Christine, for three of the years in which he collected money from the USFN and some other clients.
Apparently USFN was raining down bribes, some of which fell on Delay's cheif of staff Edwin Buckham (also a minister), Delay's wife and the wife of Delay's deputy chief of staff , but none of the drops hit Delay. This scenario is possible, its also possible that I'll win the lottery this week.
The accounting records reviewed by The Washington Post included a list of every transaction by the USFN from 1996 to 2000 and the group's tax returns for 2001, the last year it existed. They demonstrate that the consulting fees, bonuses and fundraising commissions for the Buckhams — plus the purchase of a townhouse that served as the locus of DeLay's own fundraising efforts — consumed far more of the group's budget than its spending for lobbying on "moral fitness" issues.
Moral fitness is defined by the conservative establishment as the ability to pass stacks of cash with one hand behind their back.
…a variety of expenses that experts say are atypical for such a small nonprofit: $62,375 for wall art, a vase listed at $20,100, airfare and meals for Abramoff that cost $11,548, and $267,202 in travel and entertainment expenses that appear to have benefited mostly Buckham, the group's board members, and its tiny staff.
"They were using donor funds for interior decorating," said Chris Geeslin, a pastor in Frederick, Md., who between 1998 and 2001 served as one of the group's directors
According to PoliticalMoneyLine, Buckham's Alexander Strategy Group gave money to JO BONNER FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE, NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE FEDERAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE, MCCRERY FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE, JON KYL FOR U S SENATE, SUPERIOR CALIFORNIA FEDERAL LEADERSHIP FUND, PETER HOEKSTRA FOR CONGRESS among others. None of this necessarily illegal, but does indicate what a busy little bee ASG was and whether there was any quid pro quo from any of the elected recipients.
At the time, Abramoff was under contract with the Marianas government to lobby against congressional legislation to impede the free flow of immigrant labor to the islands from China and elsewhere in Asia, and impose a minimum hourly wage exceeding the island's standard rate of $3.05.
To U.S. immigration officials and other critics, maintaining the Marianas' exemptions from these rules amounted to providing legal protection for sweatshops. But textile manufacturers, who dominated the islands' politics and profited heavily from paying immigrant workers less than required on the mainland, ardently opposed the legislation. The Marianas government paid Abramoff a total of $7.17 million in lobbying fees from 1996 to 2001, according to an audit there.
One can't help wonder about people wallowing in over 7 million dollars and their dedication to keeping wages of people that actually work at rock bottom. When liberals object to robbing the poor to give to the wealthy they are labeled anti-business. Labeling is a strange phenomenon from the right, it blows in from the gapping mouths of conservatives whose rapacious appetite for more, more, and more is in perverse sync with their laziness.
In April 1997, for example, a longtime Tan aide and island politician named Benigno Fitial went to Washington, where he sang "Happy Birthday" to DeLay in the whip's office. He sent Buckham an e-mail after the trip expressing appreciation for his support and recalling Buckham's explanation that one of his roles was to "stop legislation from getting on the floor of the House." Fitial signed the e-mail, "YOUR 'ADOPTED' BROTHER BEN."
Three months earlier, Tan's network of companies had written five checks of $10,000 each to USFN, and Buckham's wife had claimed $10,000 in "commissions" on these checks, according to the group's ledger.
These were just the first of 23 payments by Tan's companies to the group, which eventually totaled $650,000.
Later in 1997, Wendy Buckham claimed another $10,000 in commissions on Tan's checks, and in 1998, the couple's jointly owned consulting firm took another $20,000 in commissions explicitly attributed to the Tan donations, according to the ledger. Many other "commissions" collected by the couple were not linked in the ledgers to a specific donor.
DeLay saw Tan when he took his wife and daughter to the Marianas in a December 1997 trip arranged with the help of Abramoff and his lobby firm. After brunching with Tan on his first full day, followed by a round of golf with Tan and others, DeLay attended a dinner in his honor sponsored by Tan's holding company at the local Pacific Islands Club.
It was at this dinner that DeLay gave the speech in which he called Abramoff "one of my closest and dearest friends," according to a copy. DeLay also reminded Tan and his colleagues of his earlier promise that no wage and immigration legislation would be passed.
"Stand firm," DeLay said in his closing. "Resist evil. Remember that all truth and blessings emanate from our Creator." He then departed with Tan to see a cockfight, according to a written account by one of the trip participants.
Worth a minute to go read the whole article. Geez what a tangled web they weave.
Retired Command Sergeant Major Eric Haney's book "Inside Delta Force" became the basis for the CBS drama "The Unit," where he now assumes technical adviser and executive producer duties.
Excerpts from the forthcoming article written by David Kronke:
Q: What's your assessment of the war in Iraq?
A: Utter debacle. But it had to be from the very first. The reasons were wrong. The reasons of this administration for taking this nation to war were not what they stated. (Army Gen.) Tommy Franks was brow-beaten and … pursued warfare that he knew strategically was wrong in the long term. That's why he retired immediately afterward. His own staff could tell him what was going to happen afterward.
We have fomented civil war in Iraq. We have probably fomented internecine war in the Muslim world between the Shias and the Sunnis, and I think Bush may well have started the third world war, all for their own personal policies.
Algernon. Yes. But why does your aunt call you her uncle? 'From
little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack.' There
is no objection, I admit, to an aunt being a small aunt, but why an
aunt, no matter what her size may be, should call her own nephew her
uncle, I can't quite make out. Besides, your name isn't Jack at
all; it is Ernest.
Jack. It isn't Ernest; it's Jack.
Algernon. You have always told me it was Ernest. I have introduced
you to every one as Ernest. You answer to the name of Ernest. You
look as if your name was Ernest. You are the most earnest-looking
person I ever saw in my life. It is perfectly absurd your saying
that your name isn't Ernest. It's on your cards. Here is one of
them. [Taking it from case.] 'Mr. Ernest Worthing, B. 4, The
Albany.' I'll keep this as a proof that your name is Ernest if ever
you attempt to deny it to me, or to Gwendolen, or to any one else.
[Puts the card in his pocket.]
Jack. Well, my name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country, and
the cigarette case was given to me in the country.
from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde