Sunday, March 26, 2006



When Tom DeLay was the Republican Party's Capitol Hill kingpin-- and the Capo di Tutti Capi of the crime ring politely called the House Leadership-- one of his chief henchmen was a creepy-crawly thing and fake evangelical minister named Edwin Buckham. Officially Buckham was DeLay's chief of staff. What Buckham was doing for DeLay "unofficially" is what has caught the attention of several layers of law enforcement and is likely to land Buckham in prison and add a good many years to DeLay's sentence.

Republican rainmaker and DeLay consiglieri Jack Abramoff conspired with Buckham to set up a fraudulent charity-- a tax free charity, mind you-- called the U.S. Family Network. Sounds nice, like fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies with milk and mom with a fresh apron on, doesn't it? It wasn't. Supposedly promoting a "pro-family" agenda, the "charity," aside from spreading hatred for gay people was also spreading around-- quite illegally-- huge amounts of money among DeLay's gang members. In fact Buckham himself-- well actually Buckham and his moll, one Wendy Buckham, one of the financial brains behind the operation-- raked in over a million bucks themselves-- and that's a lot of chocolate chip cookies, a lot of milk and a lot of fresh aprons. Of course direct kickbacks were paid by the Buckhams to DeLay's own moll, one Christine DeLay to the tune of $3,300/month for at least 3 years. It adds up. And it's very illegal.

The scam worked like this: Abramoff strong-armed his lobbyist clients to contribute to this fake charity with the idea that the all powerful DeLay would "notice"-- and take appropriate action. According to today's WASHINGTON POST, the FBI has subpoenaed the fake charity's records and "it can be inferred that the bureau is exploring whether there were links between the payments and favorable legislative treatment of Abramoff's clients by DeLay's office.

In short, the DeLay/Abramoff fake charity operation was a funnel for corporations (like R.J. Reynolds Tobacco) for whom DeLay was giving special legislative consideration-- i.e.- screwing consumers, screwing workers, screwing shareholders, screwing the environment, screwing communities, etc-- to launder money into bribing DeLay and his cronies and into financing attack ads against Democrats. The FBI has also been investigating the coincidence of DeLay accepting money from shady Russian interests and his support for legislation benefiting them. It appears that Russian criminal elements amounted to the single biggest source of funds to DeLay's tax-exempt little "charity."

But the Buckham's weren't the only DeLay gang-members who benefited from this particular little multimillion dollar fraud, a shining example of the Republican Culture of Corruption that has completely subsumed our nation's capital. Tony Rudy, another DeLay henchman ("deputy chief of staff"), and his moll, were also paid large sums of money from the fake charity.

And, not unlike the excesses that marked the recent case of right-wing extremist/DeLay ally and bribe taker Randy "Duke" Cunningham-- currently serving 8 years in prison-- the criminals in the DeLay gang also had tastes for expensive baubles: fancy meals and travel for the fake minister and his moll, $10,000 vases, tens of thousands of dollars worth of art by Peter Max and Dali-- all very weird expenses for a tax-exempt non-profit (although they tried covering up the art as "office fixtures" in their fraudulent accounting statements). And probably all destined for the auction block, just like the luxuries illegally purchased by Cunningham.

One religionist sucker who has since seen the light is a pastor from Frederick, Maryland, Chris Geeslin.
"They were using donor funds for interior decorating," said Geeslin, the group's president. He blamed the fraud on Buckham, who he said "would tell us where you should put things. He orchestrated all this. . . . He used us." And DeLay and the Republican Party used us all. Will November be pay back time?

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