The Feds appear to be encircling a key figure tying the Abramoff scandal to one of the most powerful Republicans of the past six years.
National Journal reports (not available online) that FBI agents have been interviewing former aides to onetime House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) about Ed Buckham, formerly one of DeLay’s closest aides. They have also spoken with former advisors to Buckham’s sham charity, the U.S. Family Network, about Buckham.
In addition, investigators have subpoenaed an evangelical political fundraising group, America 21, which took money from Abramoff and whose lawyer worked with Buckham at USFN.Buckham specialized in creating and nurturing benign-sounding nonprofits, which he used as GOP slush funds for abramoff’s and his deep pocketed lobbying clients. For more insight as to why Buckham is so dangerous, read this post from May, “The Man Who Knows Too Much.”
Buckham was supposed to plea out, following in the footsteps of former DeLay staffers Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon. But he hasn’t, and some speculate that the Feds have decided playtime’s over.
Who could Buckham implicate? DeLay, for starters. But he’s got ties to other lawmakers too, who would far prefer Buckham to be on their bus instead of throwing them under it. And let’s not forget that as the head of the powerful lobby firm the Alexander Strategy Group, Buckham did work for accused Duke Cunningham briber Brent Wilkes — and dozens of the best-funded interests in Washington, D.C.