DeLay, Inc.: Those Were the Days

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“That is definitely a DeLay Foundation Golf Tournament picture,” notes sharp-eyed TPMmuckraker.com reader BK of the hug-and-mug photo serving as Vanity Fair‘s April celebrity centerfold.

Why is he so sure? “The early tournaments benefited CASA [the Court Appointed Special Advocates program], the same program whose logo appears on DeLay and Abramoff’s golf shirts.”

If he’s right, it’s a subtle dollop of irony atop VF’s delicious sundae of scandalous details.

You see, CASA was an offshoot of the DeLay Foundation for Kids, a charity set up nearly 20 years ago by Tom and Christine DeLay.

Depending on whom you ask, the foundation is a) one more example of DeLay’s benevolent nature, particularly towards America’s youth, or b) a “rotten” charity that’s just “another way for the donors to get their hooks into politicians.” DeLay supporters say (a); Fred Lewis of Texas watchdog Campaigns for People says (b). Most good-government groups side with Lewis.

Abramoff pushed his clients to give big checks to the organization, because it was a good way to get in tight with DeLay, the National Journal reported last year. “[He] knew that if they kept Christine happy, and, by extension, Tom happy, they could continue to have unfettered access to DeLay’s office,” a source told NJ. “The charity was a key avenue for their clients to put financial resources into DeLay Inc.”