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Reply #1: TX: THE HAMMER FALLS [View All]

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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:45 PM
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1. TX: THE HAMMER FALLS

Nice job Salon. This is the BIGGEST election fraud redistricting the House of Representatives in Texas just because they could. Remember the fleeing Democrats who went to Oklahoma to avoid this passing. The ability to force that coup in the Texas Leg was delivered by DeLays prodigious fundraising. Sayonara Tom!

The Hammer falls


http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/09/29/delay/inde...

HUGE ELECTION FRAUD

It isn't just Tom DeLay. The vast corrupt money machine that funded the Republican Revolution is exploding before our eyes.
Rep. Tom Delay, R-Texas, talks to reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday after resigning as House majority leader.

By Michael Scherer
Sept. 29, 2005 | At its height, the first great political machine of the 21st century worked like this: In Congress, Texas Rep. Tom DeLay controlled the votes like a modern-day Boss Tweed. He called himself "the Hammer." His domain included a vast network of former aides and foot soldiers he installed in key positions at law firms and trade groups, a network that came to be called the "K Street Project." He gathered tithes in the form of campaign cash, hard and soft, and spread it out among the loyal. He legislated for favored donors. He punished those who disobeyed, and bought off those who could be paid.
Conservative activists, who had grown up in the heady days of Reagan's America, patrolled the badlands of American politics for new opportunities. None did it better than Jack Abramoff, a former president of the College Republicans, who had a taste for expensive suits. Abramoff opened a restaurant, Signatures, where the powerful came to be seen and, in many cases, treated to free meals from a menu that included $74 steaks. He pulled in tens of millions of dollars from Indian tribes and the Northern Marianas Islands to help fund other operations -- skyboxes at the MCI Center where DeLay could hold his fundraisers and all-expense trips to Scotland where DeLay and friends could play golf.

Others were drawn into the web as well. Abramoff kicked down money to his old college buddy Grover Norquist, an anti-tax crusader whose role was to keep the right-wing ideologues in line. He hired Ralph Reed, a former advisor to the Christian Coalition, who helped keep the religious right on good terms with the Republican leadership. He hired Michael Scanlon, a former aide to DeLay, as his assistant. He leaned on former lobbying colleagues, like David Safavian, who was working in the Bush administration and could do favors for his clients. Susan Ralston, Abramoff's former gatekeeper and executive assistant, went to work for Karl Rove in the White House.

For a while, the whole operation seemed unstoppable. DeLay, Abramoff, Norquist, Reed and Rove vanquished their Democratic opponents, winning election after election. The loyalty that ensued allowed for a historic cohesion in Congress. Tax breaks passed like clockwork, as did subsidies for favored industries and cuts to long-standing Democratic initiatives. The Democratic Party, which had ruled Capitol Hill for half a century, imploded in confusion.

But the machine may now be coming to an end. The prosecutors have arrived, and they are handing out indictments at a blistering rate. "It's a house of cards," says Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "Jack Abramoff has been the ace of spades, but Tom DeLay has been linked arm in arm with him." Now the house is on the brink of collapse, he added. "Everything that surrounded the K Street Project and what flowed from it ... all of that is under intense pressure."

On Wednesday, DeLay was indicted with two aides by a Texas grand jury, accused of flouting campaign finance laws by illegally sending corporate funds to GOP candidates in the state.

<snip>.

But even if the collapse of Abramoff and the weakening of DeLay does not end the Republican reign, it will at least expose its workings. For years now, Republicans across Washington have been scratching each other's backs as they march in lockstep with a unified message. With each release of a subpoenaed e-mail, and every new indictment, more information about the workings of the machine -- and the money that was its lifeblood -- comes to light.

In recent weeks, for instance, Timothy Flanigan, a former attorney in the Bush White House, has been answering questions from Congress about his relationship to Abramoff. Flanigan, who has been nominated as deputy attorney general, went to work for the Bermuda-based corporation Tyco after he left the White House. Once there, he hired Abramoff as a lobbyist to reach out to Karl Rove on a tax issue. According to a report in the Washington Post, Abramoff boasted to Flanigan that "he had contact with Mr. Karl Rove" and that Rove could help fight a legislative proposal that would penalize U.S. companies that had moved offshore. Flanigan oversaw a $2 million payment to Abramoff for a related letter-writing campaign that never materialized. Flanigan says the money was diverted into other "entities controlled by Mr. Abramoff."

<snip>

The ability of DeLay and Abramoff to collect and distribute enormous sums of money was always a key to their success. They used the money to buy friends and crush enemies. They used the money to fund the Republican revolution. As Abramoff told the New York Times in March, "Eventually, money wins in politics."

Those words form a perfect epitaph for a political machine gone awry.
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