Abramoff's clients began pumping money into the U.S. Family Network in early 1997, when Buckham was still working for DeLay. And Buckham started Alexander Strategy Group on that money. Passing money from one hand to the other, his non-profit grassroots network paid his lobbying firm a monthly stipend of $12,000 per month starting in late 1997. This money accounted for virtually all of Alexander Strategy Group's revenue in 1998, according to Peter Stone's recent piece in the National Journal:
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 [between the USFN and ASG], 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.
So Buckham started up on Abramoff's money. As time went on, they continued to work closely together, sometimes sharing some of Abramoff's big-time clients.
Buckham owed Abramoff a lot. Keep that in mind as you try to piece all this together.