The coming months will be uncomfortable ones for many GOP politicians, including our own 7th District representative and acting house majority leader, Roy Blunt. I saw Roy's picture on the evening news tonight - it was right next to a shot of the nefarious Tom DeLay and beleaguered Ohio congressman, Bob Ney. Looks like good old Roy really has made it big this time.
Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's guilty plea to three felony counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion opens pandora's box to one of the worst cases of Washington, D. C. corruption in a couple of generations. So far, GOP leaders have been relatively quiet - perhaps waiting for another natural disaster to take the headlines - but they have managed to utter a few weak defenses, such as . . . "He gave money to Democrats, too."
Well, I checked into that, and here's a list of recipients of Abramoff donations since 2000 as compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics:
Tom DeLay (R-Texas). John Ashcroft (R-Mo.). Frank A. LoBiondo (R-NJ). Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). John Ensign (R-Nev.). Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). Charles H. Taylor (R-NC). Chris Cannon (R-Utah). Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Mark Foley (R-Fla.). Richard Pombo (R-Calif.). Christopher S. "Kit" Bond (R-Mo.). Curt Weldon (R-Pa.). Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). Doug Ose (R-Calif.). Ernest J. Istook (R-Okla.). George R. Nethercutt Jr. (R-Wash.). Jim Bunning (R-Ky.). Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.). Tom Feeney (R-Fla.). Dan Burton (R-Ind.). Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Suzanne Terrell (R-La.). Rob Simmons (R-Conn.). Charles W. "Chip" Pickering Jr. (R-Miss.). Connie Morella (R-Md.). Gordon H. Smith (R-Ore.). James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.). James M. Talent (R-Mo.). John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.). John Thune (R-SD). Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.). Bob Smith (R-Fla.). Bob Ney (R-Ohio). CL. "Butch" Otter (R-Idaho). Carolyn W. Grant (R-NC). Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.). Elizabeth Dole (R-NC). Heather Wilson (R-NM). J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.). Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). James V. Hansen (R-Utah). John Cornyn (R-Texas). Kimo Kaloi (R-Hawaii). Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.). Mike Ferguson (R-NJ). Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). Ralph Regula (R-Ohio). Ric Keller (R-Fla.). Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Dave Camp (R-Mich.). Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.). Tom Young (R-Ala.). Bill Janklow (R-SD). Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.). Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.). William L. Gormley (R-NJ). Bill McCollum (R-Fla.). Bill Redmond (R-NM). Bob Riley (R-Ala.). Claude B. Hutchison Jr. (R-Calif.). Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.). Francis E. Flotron (R-Mo.). George Allen (R-Va.). Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-NC). Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Bob Smith (R-Fla.). Joe Pitts (R-PA). Charles H. Taylor (R-NC). Bob Ehrlich (R-Md.). Charles R. Gerow (R-Pa.). Ed Royce (R-Calif.). Elia Vincent Pirozzi (R-Calif.). Jerry Weller (R-Ill.). Mark Emerson (R-Utah). Tom Davis (R-Va.). Van Hilleary (R-Tenn.).
Notice the "R" in each case. But where is Roy?
One of Abramoff's money laundering setups was a PAC called, cynically enough, the "U. S. Family Network", which was basically one employee manning a phone and computer in the backroom of a D. C. townhouse. Millions in illicit funds swindled from Indian tribes and shady Russian gas and oil magnates came through this office. And guess whose own personal PAC shared office space with the Abramoff front? None other that our own Roy Blunt's "Rely On Your Beliefs" (clever acronym - ROYB).
There's an interesting article in the New Republic about how warm and fuzzy Roy and Tom DeLay have become over the past five years - and how this association may eventually lead to our golden boy's fall from grace.
DeLay was instrumental in boosting Blunt's rise to power in Congress, but Blunt (and his lobbyist wife) also became involved in DeLay's fundraising network, which led him into the great political fundraising arena with none other than the master of slime, Jack Abramoff.
Abramoff also reportedly gave the Bush campaign $100,000 of his ill-gotten gains. The White House, of course, denies this.
Ah, don't ya just love the GOP with their high moral stand and Family Values? One can only hope that this scandal will be the beginning of the end of their nauseating brand of "Christian" ethics in government. Almost makes you wistful for the good old days when the Dems were in power, when we dealt with simpler transgressions like questionable book deals and using congressional postage meters for campaign mail.
Interested in finding out more about who contributes to candidates? Visit a new local blog called Granny Geek. Interesting stuff.