John Bresnahan over at The Politico reports
that a federal grand jury has subpoenaed House payroll records for Ed Buckham, formerly ex-Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) chief of staff. Bresnahan notes that it's a clear indication that the feds are closing in on Buckham, who left DeLay to found the Alexander Strategy Group, the firm that made millions as the gateway to DeLay during the heady years when he ran the Hill.
Buckham, as DeLay's bag man, has long been considered the key to prosecutors building a case against DeLay as part of the Jack Abramoff investigation. The vise has been closing on him for quite some time. But Peter Stone reports in this month's National Journal
that Buckham finally turned down a deal offered by prosecutors to plead guilty, and that "he expects to be indicted soon."
Buckham would be the third former DeLay aide to be targeted in the scandal. Two other ex-aides who went on to work with Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and Tony Rudy, have pleaded guilty.Note
: Here's our rundown
on all of Buckham's many entanglements.Update
: Back in May, DeLay challenged
the Justice Department to "Fish or cut bait. Do something," since they seemed to be taking their own sweet time questioning his associates about his relationship to Buckham and Abramoff. It appears that the Department has chosen the "fish" option.