Thursday, March 23, 2006

The First Bribes Club

* laura:
" Looks like Wendy Buckham, the wife of former DeLay chief of staff-turned-lobbyist Ed Buckham, was getting her cut of donations going to a DeLay-linked "charity" too.
There's a kind of common architecture to so much of the two corruption scandals involving Cunningham and Abramoff, including the pay offs to spouses of those being cultivated for favors, the revolving door between Congress and lobbying shops, the laundering of illegal donations via fake charities, the proliferation of front companies, one wonders if the advice to Buckham et al on setting up the front companies and people involved in the Wilkes/Wade case weren't crossing paths? Or if they did not come out of the same school?"

* in that post, Laura also says: "Separate from the bribery via payments to the spouses of key lobbyists and lawmakers, the Russian intel-linked-payoffs going to all these right wing ideologues, Stone notices something else interesting. It's normally reported that Buckham went from DeLay's office to found the Alexander Strategy Group in 1998. But Stone found proof that it was a little bit earlier, and well, more orchestrated, than that:
According to a document obtained by National Journal, the [U.S. Family] network signed a "Letter of Engagement" with Ed Buckham on October 28, 1997, stating that it would pay the Alexander Strategy Group a monthly fee of $12,000 beginning on November 1 to perform a variety of services, including raising money, writing a business plan and promotional materials, and keeping the group's books. The Alexander Strategy Group was to receive "a percentage of high-dollar fundraising not to exceed 15 percent."

In 1998, a large part of the firm's revenues appears to have come from the network, which raised a total of $1.8 million. Based on the agreement, that would have generated as much as $420,000 in income for the lobbying shop. The firm's only lobbying client in 1998 was the Hebrew Vocational Institute, which paid Alexander Strategy less than $10,000 every six months, according to lobbying registrations."

Which is all quite interesting, not least because Christine DeLay was 'employed' by ASG from 1998-2002

As I noted here (from 2002):
"Roy (DeLay's communications director), however, explained that her net annual pay of about $40,000 a year is for her job as chief executive officer of Americans for a Republican Majority, a political action committee whose chairman is her husband.

DeLay's wife is paid through the Alexander Strategy Group primarily as a bookkeeping arrangement, Roy said. She does not keep an office at the firm and often works out of the couple's home, he said. The lobbying firm works for Americans for a Republican Majority as a consultant and received more than $200,000 since July 2000, according to the committee's financial reports.

Christine DeLay's salary was paid by money from the political action committee, Roy said.""
If we assume that the "since July 2000" means that is when ASG first started working for ARMPAC, then Christine's ASG salary from when she started in 1998 through to the middle of 2002 couldn't have been for her 'CEO' role at ARMPAC. And given that ASG near-sole revenue source was the USFN, then we can presume that the USFN was effectively paying Christine's salary... and " almost all of (USFN's) money apparently came from three of Abramoff's biggest clients."

As I noted in that earlier post, the current storyline is that Christine was paid to write up a list of congress critters' favourite charities, although when she originally got busted for her ASG salary in Mar02, the story was that she was getting paid for her work as ARMPAC CEO. The problem is that ASG didnt start working for ARMPAC till later. I wonder which fairytale they will try to peddle now? As Laura's post makes clear, ASG was being used as a family bribery vehicle even before Christine joined them.

update: as to laura's
"one wonders if the advice to Buckham et al on setting up the front companies and people involved in the Wilkes/Wade case weren't crossing paths? Or if they did not come out of the same school?""
They almost literally did come out of the same school - Abramoff et al have made the College Republicans famous, and Wilkes (and Mack, and Combs) are from the Young Republicans - and the CRs and the YRs used to share office space (link). and of course, GroupW hired ASG as well...

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