Saturday, December 31, 2005

If It Looks Like A Duck, Has Webbed Feet And Quacks... can call it a chicken, but it's still a duck.

Looks like our old fiend, Tom DeLay is deeper in the glue than I think even he thought he would be...

Report: Group linked to DeLay funded by Abramoff clients

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An organization with close ties to Rep. Tom DeLay was funded largely by corporations associated with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing tax records and quoting former associates of the group.

Tax records, other documents and interviews bring into question the purpose of the U.S. Family Network, which functioned mostly by collecting funds from domestic and foreign businesses whose interests coincided with DeLay's activities while he was serving as House majority whip from 1995 to 2002, and as majority leader from 2002 until the end of September, the paper wrote.

During its five-year existence, the U.S. Family Network raised $2.5 million, but kept its donor list secret, the paper reported. That list, obtained by the Washington Post, showed that $1 million of its revenue came in a single 1998 check from a now-defunct London law firm whose former partners did not identify the money's origins.

According to the paper, two former associates of Edwin Buckham, the Texas Republican Delay's former chief of staff and organizer of the U.S. Family Network, said Buckham told them the funds came from Russian oil and gas executives. Abramoff had been working closely with two such Russian energy executives on their Washington agenda.

A couple of observations about this story:

First, what is this whole Newspeak trope the Republicans get into? An act curtailing pollution controls is called the Clear Skies bill. Here we have the U.S. Family Network, which is being funded by Russian oil interests and Native American casinos. Not that Native Americans aren't US families but still...casinos are what one might call "family entertainment" the way one might call porn "family entertainment".

Second, when Newt Gingrich allowed lobbyists to write legislation directly on the floor of Congress, what was he thinking? Did he not ponder the probability (not possibility, probability) that this might, you know, lead to more corruption? Or did he think Republican shit don't stink? I also fear for when the Democrats take over again next year: will they dismantle this whole mechanism or decide that it's their turn on the gravy train and leave it in place?

Third, what possible Washington agenda could Russia oil interests have? Last I heard, we were paying lip service to the Russian oil fields, lending some advisors, and that's about it. Besides, there was this story today:
Gazprom tells Eni Ukraine dispute may hit supplies

MILAN (Reuters) - Gazprom has told Eni that gas supplies could be at risk because of its ongoing dispute with Ukraine over prices, a spokesman for the Italian oil and gas firm said on Saturday, confirming newspaper reports.

Il Sole 24 Ore and Corriere della Sera newspapers said in Saturday editions that Russian gas giant Gazprom had sent a letter to Eni warning of possible problems with supplies.

"I can confirm that Eni has received such a letter from the managing director of Gazprom," an Eni spokesman said.

Gazprom is in dispute with Ukraine over a surprise hike in prices and on Friday spurned a plea from the ex-Soviet state to freeze charges as a New Year deadline for a deal approaches.
Meaning that Russia's oil industry is a highly sensitive domestic matter and not likely one they'd want the Americans and their busybody noses poking around in, fomenting unrest in former Soviet states, and potentially crippling a major source of revenue for the Russian government.

So why was DeLay selling out his nation to Russians for?

kos himself posts quite a bit more on this, even tracing where the money went.