No doubt, you remember that a couple weeks back The Washington Post published a story on Jack Abramoff which included unrebutted claims from DeLay surrogates that the Majority Leader had cut all ties to Abramoff way back in early February 2001, just after one of Abramoff's erstwhile business associates, Gus Boulis, was murdered in a gangland hit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
As the Post related it ...
Earlier this year, DeLay told a group of conservative supporters at a private meeting that sometime shortly after SunCruz Casinos founder Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis was gunned down in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Feb. 6, 2001, he confronted Abramoff over his SunCruz involvement, according to people in attendance.
"Immediately, he had Abramoff called in and told him, 'I want no more dealings with you,' " said conservative activist Paul M. Weyrich, a longtime DeLay friend, recounting a speech DeLay gave to a conservative group earlier this year. "I think he felt blindsided by Abramoff" over the SunCruz affair, Weyrich said.
To the best of my knowledge, the Post has yet to follow up on or rebut this palpably ludicrous claim. So I've continued to keep an eye out for examples which show just how clearly untrue the claims are.
And I think I have another.
Fully two years after the alleged DeLay-Abramoff smackdown, that is, in early February 2003, the DeLays (Tom and Christine) and the Abramoffs (Jack and Pam) joined Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin and his wife Irene for a private dinner in the Washington area. Apparently, everyone really hit it off. And, needless to say, the gathering was arranged by Jack Abramoff.
Now, before going any further, let's stipulate that little schmooze-fests like these happen all the time in Washington. And I have no reason to believe that anything untoward was discussed or transacted. My understanding is that conversation turned on the normal mix of politics and fundraising -- in this case, apparently, fundraising for one of DeLay's charities. My only reason for noting it is to demonstrate (which I think it does pretty handily) the close professional and personal relationship the DeLays continued to have with Abramoff at least until early 2003.
Someday maybe even the Post will revisit this part of the story.
When asked about details of the meeting, Abramoff spokesman Andrew Blum declined comment. Calls to DeLay's press office were not returned.