Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tightening the Noose

There has been a lot of coverage about Tom Delay resigning, but I have been frustrated, in searching, and trying to find out exactly what the Justice Dept. investigations unit is actually doing, i.e. what are they up to in regards to Delay. Here is some of what I have been able to glean.
This is from Media Matters:

" On March 31, former DeLay deputy chief of staff and Abramoff associate Tony C. Rudy pleaded guilty to conspiring with Abramoff to commit fraud. In his plea agreement, Rudy admitted that while working in DeLay's House leadership office, "he received money and other things of value from or at the direction of Abramoff and others, including $86,000 in payments to Liberty Consulting [a firm founded by Rudy and run by his wife, Lisa Rudy], tickets to sporting events, meals, golf and golf trips. During the same period, defendant RUDY routinely performed official acts for or at the behest of Abramoff and others, which were motivated in part by the things of value he received."

Rudy's plea agreement also reportedly implicated former DeLay chief of staff and Abramoff associate Edwin A. Buckham, whom the agreement referred to as "Lobbyist B." According to the plea agreement, while Rudy was working in DeLay's office, "Liberty Consulting received payments for service to be performed by his wife. As Rudy knew, Lobbyist B shared some clients with Abramoff. Rudy made the arrangements for payments through Abramoff and Lobbyist B." In an April 5 article, The New York Times reported that Buckham "was among Mr. DeLay's closest associates, and the Justice Department is seeking to build a conspiracy case against him [Buckham], people involved in the case said."

see also:

Then we have this from the Washington Post:

" The pending resignation of former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), once one of the most powerful lawmakers in Washington, comes amid a federal criminal investigation that already has reached into his inner circle of longtime advisers.

The picture appeared to darken further last week. DeLay's former chief of staff Edwin A. Buckham, the lawmaker's closest political and spiritual adviser, was described in court documents filed by the Justice Department as someone who collaborated with the others -- Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former DeLay deputy chief of staff Tony Rudy and former DeLay aide Michael Scanlon. They arranged payments, trips and favors that the department's investigators charged were part of an illegal conspiracy, according to the documents.

DeLay himself was formally designated as "Representative #2" in the documents, a title that cannot be considered a good omen. The lawmaker designated in the same documents as Representative #1 -- Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) -- has been cited by the Justice Department as having received "things of value" for performing official acts.

DeLay and Buckham also have not been accused of wrongdoing by federal prosecutors, and they have both asserted their innocence.
But some of DeLay's official actions in Congress clearly fall within the scope of the continuing investigation: Last week's guilty plea by Rudy cites as part of the evidence of conspiracy a letter that DeLay wrote on behalf of an Abramoff client and legislation that DeLay supported on behalf of a client of Abramoff's firm.

The central legal challenge for DeLay is more likely to arise from the work of the federal task force, made up of FBI and tax agents, Interior Department investigators, and prosecutors from the Justice Department's public integrity unit. A grand jury subpoena issued by the FBI in February for records of the U.S. Family Network, a nonprofit group formed by Buckham, specifically asked for any documents related to DeLay; his wife, Christine; Buckham's lobbying firm; Rudy; and a variety of contributors to the group from among Abramoff's client list."

Ah, well, here we get at some of the kernal of a possible case they are building against Delay. But, in Sugarland this is hardly mentioned at all.
Delay prefers to portray all his problems as the liberal medias fault, and as due to what he refers to as, a ' War on Christianity'.

Actually what he has to worry about are - - " the federal task force, made up of FBI and tax agents, Interior Department investigators, and prosecutors from the Justice Department's public integrity unit."

One can only suppose he jumped ship early, to 1) avoid another indictment while in office, and 2) start assembling a larger legal team.

Meanwhile like the Dark tower of Sauron in Morder, a lot of his power has come crashing to the ground. Sic transit Mundus.

The quoted paragraphs are from a larger article by- R. Jeffrey Smith Washington Post Staff Writer, at the Washington Post.

No comments: