DeLay continues to insist that one of his “closest and dearest friends,” Jack Abramoff, deceived him. He still claims that he had no knowledge that Abramoff footed the bill for their lavish trip to Britain in 2000. (House Ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting such gifts from lobbyists.) This trip included a golf trip to a resort in Scotland, a performance of “The Lion King,” and stays at fancy hotels.
The one portion of the trip DeLay tries to justify as business is a meeting with Margaret Thatcher:
I’m involved in the conservative movement overseas, too. I went there to meet with Margaret Thatcher and other high-ranking officials talking and working with them on how the conservative party can get back into power.
Lord Bell, Thatcher’s spokesman, had a different story:
Lady Thatcher is visited by many politicians and political figures from around the world….It [the DeLay meeting] was not a business meeting.
If the meeting with Thatcher wasn’t business, what was?