The widespread assumption in the media has been that investigators probing Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) and his daughter's company are concentrating on three- or four year-old crimes, first reported in the Los Angeles Times in 2004. Weldon used that assumption yesterday to buttress his argument that the investigation was an October surprise engineered by conniving liberals.
But the revelation today in the Washington Post that investigators have been gathering evidence on Weldon over at least the past four months -- including wiretaps of "Washington area cellphone numbers" -- suggests that the suspected crimes have been ongoing. And if Karen Weldon's work for her clients over the past couple years has been under the radar, it's by design.
"The investigation focuses on Weldon's support of the Russian-managed Itera International Energy Corp., one of the world's largest oil and gas firms, while that company paid fees to Solutions North America, the company that Karen Weldon and [her partner, Charles Sexton] operate," The Washington Post reported today.
The LA Times broke the story of the 29 year-old Karen Weldon's booming little company back in February 2004. Since then, very little has been heard from her. Around the time that thestory came out, both Weldon and Sexton ceased to register as lobbyists for their clients.
Weldon told The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this year that his daughter no longer lobbies. But that doesn't mean her company hasn't been busy. It may even have continued to do business with Itera, the Russian energy giant and focus of the probe, until recently. It's impossible to tell.
There's a glaring question that Weldon and his daughter have yet to answer: if Solutions North America (or Solutions Worldwide, as they seem to go by now) isn't a lobbying firm, what do they actually do? The Philadelphia Inquirer, in their piece today, refers to them as a PR firm. For a PR firm, they keep a remarkably low profile: they have no website.