3/24/2005

Keep your eye on the next DeLay/GOP scandal...

From RawStory.com:
As attention grows on campaign fundraising and the relationship between top Republicans and a lobbyist under multiple federal investigations, the Republican National Congressional Committee has erased all online records of fundraising events for the last three years, RAW STORY has learned. Previously, the website listed all NRCC fundraisers dating from late 2002 to the present. Now only an error message appears, though several months are available in cache files (which can be viewed on the RawStory website). The scrubbing appears to have occurred shortly after RAW STORY placed now-Sen. Vitter (R-LA) at a $1000-a-plate fundraiser hosted by the fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff during the same time Vitter was meeting with Abramoff’s staff to arrange a provision favorable to the lobbyist’s tribal client. The last cache files date to Mar. 12, four days before RAW STORY revealed the event. Also in attendance at the dinner was House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R-TX) deputy Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who had signed a letter with DeLay encouraging the Interior Department to rule favorably to Abramoff earlier that summer. In the following days, the Capitol Hill daily Roll Call and Louisiana newspapers reported on the fundraiser. DeLay–and other leading Republicans in Congress–have come under scrutiny for their dealings with Abramoff. DeLay took an expensive junket to London paid for by Abramoff’s clients and has consistently favored the lobbyist’s agenda. Focus has also turned to Abramoff’s pricey Pennsylvania Avenue restaurant, Signatures, where he regularly entertained politicians and billed his tribal clients for hundreds of thousands of dollars in meals, according to the Washington Post. If the cached files on NRCC fundraisers are any example, Signatures was a popular hotspot for Republican congressional fundraisers. In just those three cached months in 2004, ten events were held at Signatures–five in May, three in October and two in May. Abramoff’s tribal client gave tens of millions of dollars to Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, former press secretary to Rep. DeLay, to quash a rival tribe’s bid to set up a casino outside their historic tribal lands. Abramoff was a prolific fundraiser for the Republican Party, gave generously to DeLay and his deputies in Congress, and was a Pioneer for the Bush reelection campaign.

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