MATTHEWS: Do you think that’s unfair to say that you went over there [Scotland] on a junket?
DELAY: It’s incredibly unfair.
MATTHEWS: Why? Who paid for the trip?
DELAY: A legitimate conservative organization.
MATTHEWS: But wasn’t there a pass through?
DELAY: No, there was no pass through.
MATTHEWS: They came up with the money themselves.
DELAY: That’s exactly right. They raised their money themselves.
The trip — which was allegedly arranged through the National Center for Public Policy Research, a non-profit — was actually funded by Abramoff. DeLay’s airfare was charged to Jack Abramoff’s American Express card. (House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists.)
The Washington Post also reports, “Multiple sources, including DeLay’s then-chief of staff Susan Hirschmann, have confirmed that DeLay’s congressional office was in direct contact with Preston Gates [Abramoff’s lobbying firm] about the trip itinerary before DeLay’s departure, to work out details of his travel.”
In short: the trip was a junket, it was not paid for by the non-profit, and there was a pass through. You just wouldn’t know that from watching Matthews show.
More on Chris Matthews at Open Letter to Chris Matthews.