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  • Delay Funnels Money to Blunt

    Free Speech?
    QUOTE
    DeLay diverted money to Roy Blunt
    By John Solomon And Sharon Theimer
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    10/05/2005

    WASHINGTON

    Rep. Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to raise for throwing parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess to longtime ally Rep. 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.

    Because the type of political action committee DeLay used was not governed by federal law at the time, the original sources of the donations were never disclosed.

    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.

    Campaign finance experts said that the transactions raised red flags but that more investigation would be needed to determine whether laws had been broken. Spokesmen for DeLay, and Roy Blunt say they disclosed what was required by law at the time and believe all their transactions were legal.

    Larry Noble, the government's former chief election enforcement lawyer, said the transactions were similar to those involved in a Texas case in which a grand jury indicted DeLay on charges of violating Texas law with a scheme to launder corporate donations to state candidates. The DeLay-Blunt transfers raise questions about whether donors were deceived or the true destination of their money was concealed, he said.

    "These people clearly like using middlemen for their transactions," Noble said. "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 took place. He now heads the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog group.

    Shuffling money from one politician's campaign fund to that of an ally is not unusual. What's different about the DeLay-Blunt transfers is that the original sources of the money - hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations DeLay collected for the 2000 convention - were never disclosed to federal regulators because the type of group DeLay used wasn't governed by federal law at the time.

    DeLay has temporarily stepped aside as majority leader following the indictment. Blunt - who had been majority whip, the No. 3 Republican in the House - has taken over much of that role in DeLay's absence.

    Spokesmen for the two Republican leaders said there was nothing wrong with the money transfers.

    "It illustrates what others have said, that money gets transferred all the time. 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."

    Blunt and DeLay planned all along to raise more money than was needed for the convention parties and then route some of that to other causes, such as supporting state candidates, said longtime Blunt aide Gregg Hartley.

    "We put together a budget for what we thought we would raise and spend on the convention and whatever was left over we were going to use to support candidates," said Hartley, Blunt's former chief of staff who answered the AP's questions on behalf of Blunt.

    Hartley said he saw no similarity to the Texas case. The fact that DeLay's charity, Christine DeLay's consulting firm and Blunt's son, Matt Blunt - now Missouri's governor - were beneficiaries was a coincidence, Hartley said.

    Little scrutiny

    Much of the money - including one donation to Roy 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.

    Both DeLay and Blunt and their aides also met with Abramoff's lobbying team several times in 2000 and 2001 on the Marianas issues, according to law firm billing records obtained by the AP under an open records request. DeLay was instrumental in blocking legislation opposed by some of Abramoff's clients.

    Noble said investigators should examine whether the pattern of disguising the original source of money might have been an effort to hide the leaders' simultaneous financial and legislative dealings with Abramoff and his clients.

    "All of these transactions may have strings attached to them. . . . I think you would want to look, if you aren't already looking, at the question of a quid pro quo," Noble said.

    The 2000 transactions took place as President George W. Bush was marching toward his first election to the White House, DeLay was positioning himself to be House majority leader and Blunt was lining up to succeed DeLay as majority whip, the third-ranking position in the House.

    The entities Blunt and DeLay formed allowed them to collect donations of any size and any U.S. source with little chance of federal scrutiny.

    DeLay's convention fundraising arm, ARMPAC, collected large corporate donations to help wine and dine Republican VIPs during the 2000 presidential nominating convention. DeLay's group has declined to identify any of the donors.

    Blunt's group, a nonfederal wing of his Rely on Your Beliefs Fund, eventually registered its activities in Missouri but paid a $3,000 fine for improperly concealing its fundraising in 1999 and spring 2000, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records.

    Both groups - DeLay's and Blunt's - were simultaneously paying Ellis, the longtime DeLay fundraiser who was indicted along with his boss in Texas in the alleged money-laundering scheme.

    The money go-round

    The DeLay group began transferring money to Blunt's group in two checks totaling $150,000 in the spring of 2000, well before the convention. The transfers accounted for most of the money Blunt's group received during that period:

    DeLay's convention arm sent the first check, $50,000, on March 31, 2000. Eight days later, on April 7, the Blunt group made a $10,000 donation to DeLay's private charity for children, and began the first of several payments totaling $40,000 to a northern Virginia-based political consulting firm formed by DeLay's former chief of staff, Ed Buckham.

    That consulting firm at the time also employed DeLay's wife, Christine, according to DeLay's ethics disclosure report to Congress.

    Hartley said Blunt was unaware that Christine DeLay worked at the firm when he made the payments.

    DeLay's convention group sent the second check, for $100,000, to Blunt's group on May 24, 2000. Within three weeks, Blunt donated the same amount to the Missouri Republican Party.

    The next month, the state GOP began spending large amounts of money to help Matt Blunt in his successful campaign to become Missouri secretary of state. On July 25, 2000, the state GOP made its first expenditure for the younger Blunt, totaling just over $11,000. By election day, that figure had grown to more than $160,000.

    Hartley said Blunt always liked to help the state party and the fact that his son got party help after his donation was a coincidence. "They are unrelated activities," he said.

    Exchanges of donations took place again in the fall. Just a few days before the November election, DeLay's ARMPAC gave $50,000 to the Missouri GOP. A month later, the Missouri GOP sent $50,000 to DeLay's group.[/b][/quote]

    Ok, so let's assume this is entirely legal, as the entity formed by DeLay was not covered by relevant federal law.

    How do you feel about the assertion made in the article that once you give money to a candidate you have no control over the money and that candidate is free to give it to other candidates? The Supreme Court has said that donations to political candidates deserves First Amendment protection. Does not the transfer of money subvert your "speech"? What is your "speech" if candidates may use that money for purposes other than their own reelection efforts?

    If I want to support a candidate, then I give to that candidate. If I want to support party efforts, then I give to the party to do with as they see fit. But I don't give money to a candidate so that he or she can then give it to another candidate. Seems to subvert my First Amendment rights, no?

    Moon

  • #2
    Moon - I don't know what the answer is, but I think a good start would be to throw Tom Delay in jail ... forever.
    Norman Chad, syndicated columnist: “Sports radio, reflecting our sinking culture, spends entire days advising managers and coaches, berating managers and coaches, firing managers and coaches and searching the countryside for better middle relievers. If they just redirected their energy toward, say, crosswalk-signal maintenance, America would be 2 percent more livable.”

    "The best argument against democracy," someone (Churchill?) said, "is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

    Comment


    • #3
      QUOTE
      Seems to subvert my First Amendment rights, no?
      [/b][/quote]

      I would say no. Assuming you are supporting Delay because of his representation of you in the political process, it seems to me you entrust him to make many decisions that would be made on behalf of not only you, but all his constituents and policies. If that decision(again assuming this is legal) involves no illegal activities, you get what yo get.

      My advice, don't contribute.
      Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

      Comment


      • #4
        Why would we assume that operating an undocumented, unreported slush fund was entirely legal?
        Official sponsor of the St. Louis Cardinals

        "This is a heavyweight bout indeed."--John Rooney, Oct. 27, 2011

        Comment


        • #5
          Because those that make the laws commonly work around them quite efficiently.
          Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

          Comment


          • #6
            QUOTE(lazydaze @ Oct 6 2005, 11:14 AM) Quoted post

            Because those that make the laws commonly work around them quite efficiently.
            [/b][/quote]

            QFA
            *Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq

            Comment


            • #7
              QUOTE(lazydaze @ Oct 6 2005, 11:14 AM) Quoted post

              Because those that make the laws commonly work around them quite efficiently.
              [/b][/quote]

              Nice.
              Dude. Can. Fly.

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE
                "Today a Texas grand jury indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme. This is the most embarrassing thing to happen to the Republicans since yesterday." --Jay Leno[/b][/quote]
                Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

                Comment


                • #9
                  QUOTE(Moon Man @ Oct 6 2005, 07:58 AM) Quoted post

                  Ok, so let's assume this is entirely legal, as the entity formed by DeLay was not covered by relevant federal law.

                  How do you feel about the assertion made in the article that once you give money to a candidate you have no control over the money and that candidate is free to give it to other candidates? The Supreme Court has said that donations to political candidates deserves First Amendment protection. Does not the transfer of money subvert your "speech"? What is your "speech" if candidates may use that money for purposes other than their own reelection efforts?

                  If I want to support a candidate, then I give to that candidate. If I want to support party efforts, then I give to the party to do with as they see fit. But I don't give money to a candidate so that he or she can then give it to another candidate. Seems to subvert my First Amendment rights, no?

                  Moon
                  [/b][/quote]

                  No.
                  From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.

                  For more than 20 years I have endeavored-indeed, I have struggled-along with a majority of this Court, to develop procedural & substantive rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor.


                  I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed.

                  The path the Court has chosen lessens us all. I dissent.

                  Comment

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