Thursday, October 06, 2005

Let's get Blunt, without DeLay 
Tom DeLay is under indictment for conspiracy and money-laundering. His stand-in/successor in the House majority leadership is Roy Blunt, a long-time ally of DeLay's and a guy who learned his political lessons at The Hammer's knee.

Apparently he learned a bit too much, and I'm wondering how long it's going to be before Blunt is in exactly the same position as DeLay. I.e., looking at felony convictions. Remember, DeLay's indictments revolved around his swapping campaign money from place to place to obscure its origins and get it to where he wanted it, instead of where it was legally allowed to go. In this AP News story, it appears that Blunt has torn a page from that same play-book.
DeLay and successor Blunt swapped donations between secretive groups

Associated Press

Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess to longtime ally Roy Blunt through a series of donations that benefited both men's causes.

When the financial carousel stopped, 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.

Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist recently charged in an ongoing federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Jim Ellis, the DeLay fundraiser indicted with his boss last week in Texas, also came into the picture.

The complicated transactions are drawing scrutiny in legal and political circles after a grand jury indicted DeLay on charges of violating Texas law with a scheme to launder illegal corporate donations to state candidates.

Blunt last week temporarily replaced DeLay as House majority leader, and Blunt's son, Matt, has now risen to Missouri's governor.

The government's former chief election enforcement lawyer said the Blunt and DeLay transactions are similar to the Texas case and raise questions that should be investigated regarding whether donors were deceived or the true destination of their money was concealed.

"These people clearly like using middlemen for their transactions," said Lawrence Noble. "It seems to be a pattern with DeLay funneling money to different groups, at least to obscure, if not cover, the original source," said Noble, who was the Federal Election Commission's chief lawyer for 13 years, including in 2000 when the transactions occurred.

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