Monday, April 25, 2005

3 out of 10 aint bad

Tom continues his impressive run at the number 3 and 5 spot.

3. For the last several weeks Tom DeLay has been loudly proclaiming his innocence while simultaneously obfuscating the real facts of the case behind a smokescreen of partisan buffoonery. The way Tom tells it, he's completely innocent of all the charges against him and the only reason he's in trouble is because of the evil liberals plotting against him. Well, the evil liberals over at the Washington Post turned up some interesting information last week that makes the hole Tom has been digging look just a little bit deeper and darker. According to the Post, when DeLay took a trip to England and Scotland in 2000, he "said that his expenses on this trip were paid by a nonprofit organization and that the financial arrangements for it were proper." I should think so - because "House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists."

Unfortunately for Tom, the Post turned up documents last week which showed that the airfare for the trip was charged to a credit card issued to one Jack Abramoff - a lobbyist, and one of DeLay's best buddies, who also happens to be right in the middle of a federal criminal and tax investigation as we speak. And in case Tommy Boy wants to play the "I didn't know" game, the Post also notes that, "The invoice for DeLay's plane fare lists the name of what was then Abramoff's lobbying firm, Preston Gates & Ellis. Multiple sources, including DeLay's then-chief of staff Susan Hirschmann, have confirmed that DeLay's congressional office was in direct contact with Preston Gates about the trip itinerary before DeLay's departure, to work out details of his travel. These contacts raise questions about DeLay's statement that he had no way of knowing about the financial and logistical support provided by Abramoff and his firm." Oops.

5. One more quick aside this week to keep Tom DeLay simmering on the front burner - this comes courtesy of David Sirota's blog. Sirota noted that back in 1995, not long after Republicans had retaken Congress based on a promise to clean up Washington, Tom DeLay said this: "The time has come that the American people know exactly what their Representatives are doing here in Washington. Are they feeding at the public trough, taking lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special interest groups? Or are they working hard to represent their constituents? The people, the American people, have a right to know... I say the best disinfectant is full disclosure, not isolation." So I guess that wasn't you at the Three Tenors concert then, Tom?

Funny how the number 4 spot is Brian Wilson of Faux News.

4. We noted last week that Tom DeLay is facing increasing criticism from members of his own party, such as Newt Gingrich and Rep. Christopher Shays. DeLay has also been criticized by Bill O'Reilly, the Wall Street Journal, and several other newspapers who endorsed George W. Bush in 2004. Not that you would know any of this if you happened to catch Brian Wilson on Fox News last week, of course. Wilson said that DeLay has never been found guilty of violating any law and that Democratic front groups are targeting him, using this helpful graphic to bolster his points:

Wilson also aired clips of DeLay claiming he was being targeted by a "left-wing syndicate" and that he was a victim of "journalistic activism," and reported that he was "not getting an even break from the media."

So where did Brian Wilson get this information from? Simple - he copied it from an email that Tom DeLay sent to his supporters last week, in which DeLay whined about his problems being nothing more than a plot by the vast left-wing conspiracy. Of course, Wilson helpfully declined to delve into the truth of the matter - he just allowed DeLay's comments to stand without rebuttal. Looks like he's has been taking "journalism" tips from our old pal Jeff Gannon.

Thank you Democratic Underground

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