House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been a busy man these last few years. Whether bribing congressmen, threatening political opponents, vacationing with lobbyists, or gutting House ethics rules, it’s been hard to keep up with all the Hammer’s activities. Here are thirteen highlights from DeLay’s illustrious career:
DELAY KILLED INVESTIGATION INTO LABOR ABUSE IN MARIANAS ISLANDS: In 1998, DeLay helped kill a “congressional fact-finding trip that was being planned as part of an investigation of sweatshop conditions in the garment industry in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.” Jack Abramoff represented the Northern Mariana Islands at the time, aiding them in their quest to avoid U.S. labor laws. To this end, Abramoff flew dozens of lawmakers and their aides for luxurious vacations to the balmy islands, including one 1997-98 New Year’s trip for DeLay and his wife. (It was on this trip that DeLay called Abramoff “one of my closest and dearest friends.”) Later that year, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) decided to leading a fact-finding investigation into worker abuse in the islands’ garment industry. When DeLay caught wind of the investigation, his office threatened the Hoekstra with loss of his subcommittee chairmanship if he continued.
DELAY RAISED CORPORATE CASH FOR TRMPAC: DeLay is embroiled in a scandal in Texas for his active participation in illegally funneling corporate funds to assist state political campaigns. DeLay’s political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), is under criminal investigation for using corporate money to finance Texas campaigns. DeLay has tried to distance himself from the group, but documents show DeLay “personally forwarded at least one large check” to the group and was “in direct contact with lobbyists for some of the nation’s largest companies” on TRMPAC’s behalf. [Source: NYT, 3/10/05; Salon, 10/04/04]
DELAY BRIBED CONGRESSMAN TO VOTE FOR MEDICARE: DeLay has admitted offering to endorse Sen. Nick Smith’s (R-MI) son Brad, who was running for Congress at the time, in exchange for Smith’s “yea” vote on the Medicare bill. His actions violated House rules and earned DeLay a “public admonishment” from the Ethics Committee. Smith originally alleged — and then retracted after pressure from House leaders — that DeLay also offered a $100,000 bribe for his vote. DeLay extended the role call on the Medicare bill for nearly three hours in order “to avoid an embarrassing loss.” [Slate, 10/1/04; WP, 10/1/04] Read more