Tony Rudy was the second former aide to Tom DeLay to go down – the first was Michael Scanlon. But the details in his plea, it looks like he’s going to take down a third with him, Ed Buckham. Buckham’s name might not be immediately familiar to you now, but it will be if he eventually pleads guilty.
Buckham will be the biggest and hardest to fall – his lobbying firm Alexander Strategy Group was central to DeLay’s operation. And he ran the U.S. Family Network, the non-profit pumped full of money from Jack Abramoff’s clients ($2.3 million) in a bid to (ahem) influence DeLay. Not only that, but Buckham was the one who seems to have perfected the practice of using wives as pass-throughs to members of Congress – both Christine DeLay and Rep. John Doolittle’s (R-CA) wife Julie Doolittle worked for Buckham.
And as if that wasn’t enough, keep in mind that Buckham also plays a major role in the Duke Cunningham story – he was the lobbyist for Brent Wilkes, one of the two defense contractors who bought into Duke.So Buckham eventually pleading guilty would be a big deal. If Buckham goes, he could do much more damage than Rudy.
Paul Kane of Roll Call points to two portions of Tony Rudy’s plea agreement that shows Rudy implicating Buckham (identified as “Lobbyist B“). Buckham’s lobbying firm, Alexander Strategy Group, is identifed as “Firm C.”
In the first instance, Rudy claims Buckham helped in routing the $50,000 that went to Rudy’s wife’s consulting firm – the money was to bribe Rudy for his help killing a bill for Abramoff’s client.
Rudy also names Buckham as having benefitted from his effort to round up aides for a trip to the Northern Mariana Islands. The islands were Abramoff’s client – but the plea says the trip helped Buckham’s business, too. Abramoff shared his clients with Buckham – this seems like another example of that.
The plot thickens.