Friday, March 23, 2007

I'm Just Sayin'

Why did the Tom DeLay investigation stop? Or, there is more than one way to skin a US attorney
by: Texas Nate
Thu Mar 22, 2007 at 14:07:34 PM CST
(Soon this man will have to retreat and surrender. - promoted by Matt Glazer)In the fall of 2005 dominos were falling fast in the Jack Abramoff investigation. And they were falling in one very clear direction, closer and closer to Tom DeLay.

First DeLay's former communications director fell:

On November 21st, 2005, Michael Scanlon, Jack Abramoff's partner in the Indian fraud and bribery schemes, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.

Then DeLay's former deputy chief of staff fell:

Tony Rudy pled guilty March 31st, 2006 to one count of Conspiracy. He was a former aide to Tom DeLay, a colleague of Jack Abramoff's and then a lobbyist at Alexander Strategy Group. He was named ("Staffer A") as a coconspirator in Abramoff's plea

The charge carries a maximum of five years, but because of Rudy's cooperation, prosecutors will recommend a sentencing range between two years and two years, six months. Rudy will pay at least $250,000 in restitution

And it looked like the former Chief of Staff was next:

Ed Buckham, one-time chief of staff toTom DeLay and later Chairman of the lobbying firm Alexander Strategy Group, appeared in Tony Rudy's guilty plea as "Lobbyist B."

According to the plea, Buckham helped in routing $50,000 in payments to Rudy's wife's consulting firm - the money was to bribe Rudy for his help defeating a bill on behalf of Jack Abramoff's client.

The plea also states that Rudy worked to bring other congressional aides on a trip to the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in part to benefit Buckham. The CNMI was a client of Abramoff's, but he seems to have shared the CNMI with Buckham.

In January 2006 Buckham shut down his business. In June 2006 the Washington Post revealed this choice nugget:

A registered lobbyist opened a retirement account in the late 1990s for the wife of then-House Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and contributed thousands of dollars to it while also paying her a salary to work for him from her home in Texas, according to sources, documents and DeLay's attorney, Richard Cullen.

The account represents a small portion of the income that DeLay's family received from entities at least partly controlled by lobbyist Edwin A. Buckham. But the disclosure of its origin adds to what was previously known about the benefits DeLay's family received from its association with Buckham, and it brings the total over the past seven years to about half a million dollars.

Since then.....nothing. No Buckham plea. No indictments. Nothing.....was a U.S. Attorney fired to prevent the investigation from continuing to inexorably close in on Tom DeLay?

Nope. But something very fishy did indeed take place. The lead investigator was given a Federal Judgeship, a new division chief with connections to the GOP machine was appointed (AND REPORTEDLY, TO THE DELAY DEFENSE TEAM ITSELF) and more momentum in the investigation.

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