The case against Tom DeLay just got stronger.
Read More →
Back in December, the Washington Post dropped a bomb on the now-deposed Majority Leader with their article on the U.S. Family Network, an organization that posed as a grassroots outfit, but was really a slush fund pumped full of cash by Jack Abramoff clients trying to curry favor and buy favors from DeLay. Well, a new piece from the National Journal (unfortunately, not online) adds some crucial details to the story and provides much more concrete evidence that DeLay was bought.
First, here's what we knew from the Post's story from December.
Ed Buckham founded the U.S. Family Network in 1996 while still serving as DeLay's chief of staff. By 1997, Abramoff's clients, the Northern Marianas and the Mississippi Choctaw Indians, were dumping buckets of money into it. The biggest payoff was the $1 million from two executives of Naftasib, a Russian energy giant. Buckham actually admitted to the U.S. Family Network's director that the money was paid to influence DeLay's vote on an IMF loan for Russia.
Peter Stone's new piece in the National Journal reveals another bundle of money from the Russians and what they got for it. Stone reports that the Russian energy execs invested $299,975 in DeLay back in 1997, before they really took the plunge later with the $1 million. $250,000 of that came (as a reward or a bribe, I'll let you decide) just two weeks before DeLay flew to Moscow with Abramoff to see the sights with Abramoff's Russian clients.
I'll let Stone tell it from there: