Saturday, January 14, 2006

Fight for Leadership Gets Ugly

Roy Blunt's campaign to permanently replace Tom DeLay as House Majority Leader took a couple of body blows this week from members of his own party. First, a new candidate for the post, John Shadegg (R-AZ) threw his hat in the ring, and many GOP conservatives appear ready to jump on his bandwagon as an alternative to the status quo (Blunt/DeLay).

A second blow to Blunt's ambitions came when a printed timeline depicting a series of Abramoff/Blunt connections began circulating among GOP house members this week. The timeline shows the following:

June 1999 - Abramoff donates $5,000 to ROYB fund.
February 2000 - Abramoff donates an additional $1,500 to ROYB Fund.
March 2000 - Abramoff donates maximum amount to Matt Blunt's campaign for Missouri Secretary of State.
April 2000 - Abramoff's Mariannas Island client donates $3,000 to ROYB fund.
April 2000 - Abramoff client, Juan Franco (Puerto Rico), contributes $3,000 to ROYB fund.
August 2000 - Blunt and DeLay host Republican National Committee events sponsored in part by Abramoff client, the Mississippi Band of Choctaws.
September 2000 - Blunt requests GAO study on tribal recognition issues and simultaneously seeks a six month moratorium on further tribal recognition - protecting existing casinos from further competition.
February 2002 - GAO report on tribal recognition issued.
March 2002 - Blunt writes letter to Department of Interior citing the GAO report and expressed specific concerns about the Jenna Band of Choctaws and their status in Louisiana. The Jenna Band would have been competition for Abramoff's client with tribal recognition approval.
March 2003 - Abramoff contributes to ROYB fund.
May 2003 - Blunt sends letter to Department of Interior Secretary Gale Norton regarding his concerns about Indian gaming and specifically the Jenna Band in Louisiana.
June 2003 - Blunt joins DeLay, House Speaker Hastert and House Majority Whip Cantor in penning another letter to DOI Secretary Norton regarding the opposed Jenna Band casino.

Isn't it nice to know that Roy is up there in Washington representing our interests here in God's Country? Here is a guy who needs virtually no money whatever to retain his permanent 7th District House seat, and he's up there throwing his influence around trying to protect a favorite lobbyist who is concerned about his client losing gambling revenue in Mississippi.

Further, here we are in socially conservative Southwest Missouri, where family values and high moral character are political euphemisms for "Republican" - yet we continue to elect a guy who goes to Washington and totally immerses himself in party fundraising - not that there's anything inherently wrong with that - but it gets to the point where the lobbyists become his primary constituents. And he gets so cozy with some lobbyists - is literally in bed with one Philip-Morris lobbyist - that he dumps his wife of 31 years and subsequently attempts to sneak a provision into the massive Homeland Security bill that would have aided the very tobacco firm that just happens to be represented by the lobbyist who shares his bed.

Where is the outrage here in God's Country?

Don't expect to see any of this on KY3 or the Gnews-Leader either. No, our local media has remained characteristically silent on the disturbing series of revelations regarding our elected representative to Congress. That's not to say there aren't folks in the local media who wouldn't love to run a big expose' on Blunt's ethical lapses. It just ain't happening, given the "walking-on-eggshells" approach local media has with their conservative reader/viewers. It would be like telling a small child that the Easter Bunny was a fraud (oh, for an image of Roy in bunny ears). Maybe the St. Louis and K. C. media will start making some noise about this.

Oh, and here's another little timeline I ran across in the New York Daily News that further implicates our boy-governor in this fundraising shell game.

March 30, 2000 - DeLay's ARMPAC fund donates $50,000 to Blunt's ROYB fund.
April-May 2000 - ROYB fund pays $40,000 to Alexander Strategy Group, which is run by DeLay's former chief of staff. Christine DeLay also works there. (ASG is closing its doors this month due to the Abramoff scandal.)
April 14, 2000 - Abramoff client from Marinna Islands (garment manufacturer fined by the U. S. government for sweatshop practices) contributes $3,000 to ROYB fund.
May 9, 2000 - ROYB fund contributes $1,000 to Cancer Research Foundation by way of political consultant Jim Ellis (indicted with DeLay), who runs ARMPAC.
May 24, 2000 - ARMPAC contributes $100,000 to ROYB fund.
June 15, 2000 - ROYB fund contributes $100,000 to Missouri Republican Party, which in turn eventually donates a total of $160,000 to Matt Blunt's campaign for Missouri Secretary of State.
October/November 2000 - DeLay's ARMPAC fund contributes $50,000 to Missouri Republic Party.
November 2000 - Matt Blunt is elected Missouri Secretary of State.
November/December 2000 - the Missouri Republican Party contributes $50,000 back to ARMPAC.
November 2000 - Abramoff charges Marinna Island client for meetings held with Trevor Blackann, an aide to Roy Blunt.
September 2001 - Abramoff lobbyist for Marinna Island client meets with Blunt staffer John Dutton to discuss strategies in fighting a minimum wage bill. The minimum wage bill never made it into law.

I'm just wondering how much tainted PAC money found its way to our boy-governor's gubernatorial campaign?

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