Saturday, March 25, 2006

Does anyone out there want to be my wife?

Yesterday evening I wrote a post summarizing the shadiness and the shamelessness with which various Republican members of Congress (Cunningham, Doolittle, DeLay) have been lining their pockets.

I seem to have underestimated them. New revelations in tomorrow's Washington Post, show that Tom DeLay's alleged "charity," the U.S. Family Network, mostly benefited a truly tight network of families:
DeLay's former chief of staff, Edwin A. Buckham, who helped create the group while still in DeLay's employ, and his wife, Wendy, were the principal beneficiaries of the group's $3.02 million in revenue, collecting payments totaling $1,022,729 during a five-year period ending in 2001, public and private records show.
Wendy Buckham was not the only spouse of a DeLay staffer to benefit from the USFN revenue stream sustained by Abramoff's clients. A consulting firm owned by the wife of Tony C. Rudy, DeLay's deputy chief of staff, was paid $15,600 by the group in 1999 and another $10,400 in 2000. Rudy resigned to work with Abramoff in 2001. It could not be determined what the payments were for.
[The accounting records for 1996 to 2000] demonstrate that the consulting fees, bonuses and fundraising commissions for the Buckhams -- plus the purchase of a townhouse that served as the locus of DeLay's own fundraising efforts -- consumed far more of the group's budget than its spending for lobbying on "moral fitness" issues.
In the version of the group's official, typewritten ledgers, supplied to the FBI last month under subpoena, several of its most unusual expenditures are partially crossed out and relabeled in ink. The $20,100 purchase of a vase in October 1999 from a Royal Doulton dealer in Miami was relabeled "office equipment," and the $62,375 purchase in January 1999 of a collection of Salvador Dali and Peter Max prints was relabeled "office fixtures."
That's one hell of an office.

We also find DeLay testing the latest technique for GOP money-laundering: employing your wife as the recipient of payments that would look suspicious if made directly to a member of Congress:
Buckham and his wife, Wendy, acting through their consulting firm, made monthly payments averaging $3,200-$3,400 apiece to DeLay's wife, Christine, for three of the years in which he collected money from the USFN and some other clients.
Clearly, I've been doing things wrong for the two decades I've been working for nonprofit publishers. I can't wait to get back to work on Monday. (Applications for the new position of Marketing Spouse can be sent by e-mail.)