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Sunday Morning Roundup

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Well, look who has been skimming from his own charitable trough?  Hello, Rep. DeLay, what a perfect story for a Sunday morning.

DeLay’s former chief of staff, Edwin A. Buckham, who helped create the group while still in DeLay’s employ, and his wife, Wendy, were the principal beneficiaries of the group’s $3.02 million in revenue, collecting payments totaling $1,022,729 during a five-year period ending in 2001, public and private records show.

The group’s revenue was drawn mostly from clients of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to its records. From an FBI subpoena for the records, it can be inferred that the bureau is exploring whether there were links between the payments and favorable legislative treatment of Abramoff’s clients by DeLay’s office….

The group’s payments to the Buckhams — in the form of a monthly retainer as well as commissions on donations by Abramoff’s clients — overlapped briefly with Edwin Buckham’s service as chief of staff to DeLay and continued during his subsequent role as DeLay’s chief political adviser.

During this latter period, Buckham and his wife, Wendy, acting through their consulting firm, made monthly payments averaging $3,200-$3,400 apiece to DeLay’s wife, Christine, for three of the years in which he collected money from the USFN and some other clients.

Even though Buckham left DeLay’s staff at the end of 1997, he still coordinated much of the congressional office’s work and ran DeLay’s principal fundraising committee from a building bought with USFN money, according to three former DeLay staff members who said they had firsthand knowledge of his role then.

The phrase "charity begins at home" takes on a whole new level of meaning, doesn’t it?  There is so much more in this article in the WaPo, you really have to go and read the entire thing.

And then read this in concert with it, from Robert Novak, in the Chicago Sun-Times.  Someone is holding back — and it makes me wonder why the concerns that Jane expressed about Alice Fisher have yet to be addressed by the DoJ?  Could it be that Abramoff isn’t coughing up the DeLay hairball because Ms. Fisher is making sure no one is asking him for it?  Or is it just that there is ongoing investigation into the DeLay/Abramoff mess and, well, Jackie Boy is telling his GOP friends what they want to hear?  (I mean, it’s not as though you announce that you’re continuing to be wired up, now is it?)  We live in interesting times.

Also, from the same Novak column, this interesting tidbit:

While President Bush hits the road to build support, his spring offensive is bringing conservative activists and businessmen into the White House for briefings.

"I’ve been in the White House more in the last two weeks than I was in the last two years," Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform told this column. Norquist and conservative theoretician Jeffrey Bell were called into a meeting on the administration’s embattled immigration bill. Also attending were representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Grover Norquist is hanging around the WH a lot? Nice to know.  And look at that list of folks with whom Bushie is consulting on the immigration proposals?  Notice anyone missing?  Say, actual representatives of immigrants?  Nice to know where the President’s real interests are in this — and it looks an awful lot like cheap fruit picking and lawn mowing at the club, doesn’t it?  But it is sticking Sen. Cornyn between a rock and a hard place.  FOr more on yesterday’s LA rallies, read here.  (Great picture on this story, btw.)

The WaPo also has an intriguing glimpse into the vindictive world of electronic voting — and how a whistleblower in Florida, and his entire county, are getting the bum’s rush for showing the voting machines and software as being the flawed and easily cracked systems that they are.

This article has been in my discussion cue for too long, and I just haven’t had time to give it my full attention.  So I’m linking it up — it’s on the mess at the FBI that has been revealed via testimony in the Moussaoui trial, and Neil Lewis and David Johnston at the NYTimes do a great review of a lot of the huge issues raised — with implications both for this death penalty phase as well as for the families of victims on 9/11 and the nation at large.

Oh, and Ohio Republicans?  Not having a good year.

The Lincoln Group?  Oh, they don’t do propoganda.  No, no, no.  Just handing out the scoop. that’s all.  Yeah.  That’s the ticket.

No Child Left Behind — well, at least in reading and math tests.  Other than that, schools are cutting out almost everything else.  Way to go, Shrub.

The NYTimes has a chilling portrait of the face of revenge in Baghdad.  I bet Laura Ingraham is pissed.  But on the good news front, the fellow that was on trial for renouncing Islam has had his charges dropped…of course, it comes at a political price for Karzai with the Muslim clerics who wanted to enforce the sharia laws…and the fellow will likely have to leave Afghanistan for exile just to stay alive…but hey, it’s good news reporting alla time, right?

And just one little thing to Byron York:  it doesn’t matter squat under the law and the secrecy agreement signed by Libby when he started working for the VP who was pissed at whome within the government.  Disclosing national security secrets — for political payback or otherwise — is a crime.  And it has nothing to do with the fact that Scooter Libby lied, repeatedly, to federal investigators and to the grand jury under oath — and that he obstructed a serious investigation.  Try to understand this very simple bit of reasoning and stop hanging out with Babs Comstock on the cocktail weenie circuit.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com