WASHINGTON – A former top aide to U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay admitted Friday to accepting bribes while on the lawmaker’s staff and has joined the circle of former DeLay associates cooperating with a federal investigation of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
Is it just me, or does the circle (or the noose) seem to be tightening around Tom DeLay? “The Hammer” has been indicted, Jack Abramoff has been convicted and sentenced, and now his former aide Tony Rudy has pled guilty to taking bribes while working for DeLay. Hmm…and this is a man who his friend Rev. Rick Scarborough says represents “righteousness in government”?? Have DeLay’s supporters lost all perspective, never mind their sense of decency? Does being a Christian REALLY meaning being willing to countenance all manner of corruption and venaliy? Apparently so.
Of course, it’s quite possible that “The Hammer” knew nothing about Rudy’s escapades, but DeLay’s office has never been a shining example of probity and upright behavior. If DeLay had set the tone, if he would have established right off the bat that questionable, unethical, and/or illegal behavior would not be tolerated by those in his office, it’s quite possible that none of this would have happened.
If you tolerate those who skirt the edge of the ethical and legal envelope, you can’t claim to be surprised with the prosecutors show up on your doorstep.
Documents in Rudy’s case marked the first time federal prosecutors have mentioned DeLay publicly in the Abramoff probe.
DeLay, R-Sugar Land, is described as “Representative # 2” and is identified by details such as the time period, 1995 through 2000, during which Rudy worked for him.
Rudy admitted that in return for the bribes, he got DeLay to sign a letter opposing a postal rate increase, according to court documents. Abramoff had sought such a letter on behalf of publishing clients.
Cullen said DeLay was happy to sign the letter because he had a philosophical opposition to the rate increases. DeLay had no idea Rudy was being bribed to help obtain the letter,
Cullen said. Rudy, 39, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to accepting $86,000 in cash funneled by Abramoff and others through a foundation set up by Rudy’s wife, Lisa, as well as gifts of lavish trips, meals and sports tickets. As part of his plea agreement, Rudy’s wife will escape prosecution and become a government witness.
Abramoff, whom DeLay once described as “one of my closest and dearest friends,” and former DeLay press secretary Michael Scanlon already have pleaded guilty in the case and are eligible for reduced sentences in return for their cooperation.
Prosecutors indicated in new documents that another DeLay insider, former chief of staff Edwin Buckham, is under scrutiny.
Given the parade of indictments and convictions, it would be difficult for a reasonable person not to come to the conclusion that corruption is endemic (and tolerated) in DeLay’s world. One aide might be an aberration. Two represents a problem. Throw Jack Abramoff into the mix and it becomes clear that what you have is an ethical and moral black hole.
What is happening around Tom DeLay is no coincidence, and it’s time that his constituents stop denying it. DeLay is not the target of Rudy’s case, but the stench of guilt by association is impossible to miss here.
Repeat after me, kids: Being a Republican means never having to say you’re sorry.
Without a doubt, WE DESERVE BETTER.