Sunday, November 27, 2005

Tom DeLay and the GOP: Milking the system to live high on the hog

Tom DeLay and the GOP: Milking the system to live high on the hog
Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue
Nov 27, 2005, 10:18

Tom DeLay saw a seat in Congress as a way to live large at someone else’s expense. From the time he arrived in Washington after the 1984 elections, DeLay started working the system to line his own pockets.

“I met Delay at the reception for freshmen members of Congress,” recalls retired lobbyist Jackson Russ. “He walked up, looked at my name tag, introduced himself and asked how he could get some honorariums.

In 1984, honorariums were a quick way for members of Congress to line their own pockets. Special interest groups would invite the Congressman to a get together with executives of their company or top members of the organization and then pay that Congressman directly for the appearance.

Congress banned honorariums in 1989 but that gave DeLay five years to become one of the top earner of fees for appearances on the Hill, adding an average of $27,000 a year to his Congressional salary.

“DeLay bugged everyone for honorariums,” says Roy Abrahams, who lobbied Capitol Hill for oil interests from 1975 through 1990. “Others were subtle. He wasn’t.”

When the ban went into effect, DeLay switched his tactics to soliciting free trips from special interests and contributions to any of several political funds he controlled back in Texas where the rules are lax.....


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