Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Noose Is Tightening

In tomorrow's Washington Post:

Hastert Moves to Tighten Rules on Lobbyists

While ostensibly about Hastert's attempt to close the barn door, WaPo has new details about how prosecutors are closing in on Tom Delay:

But last week, a prominent client of Abramoff's former law firm offered fresh revelations linking Abramoff to DeLay's office, saying it had sent $25,000 to an Abramoff-linked Orthodox Jewish group in 2000 as part of a lobbying campaign to thwart a proposed postal rate increase. That money appears to have then been paid to the wife of Tony C. Rudy, the deputy chief of staff of then-House Majority Whip DeLay who was helping to spearhead efforts against the increase.

Under the plea agreement made public Tuesday, Abramoff said that he and others sought Rudy's agreement to help torpedo the postal rate increase and a prohibition on Internet gambling. "With the intent to influence those official acts," the documents say, Abramoff provided "things of value, including but not limited to . . . ten equal monthly payments totaling $50,000" to the wife of a congressional aide called "staffer A" but identified elsewhere as Rudy. Those payments came from clients "that would and did benefit" from Rudy's actions.

The Washington Post had previously reported that $25,000 had come from eLottery Inc., an Internet gambling firm and Abramoff client, which sent the money to a Seattle-based foundation, Toward Tradition, that then paid fees to Rudy's wife, Lisa.

On Friday, the Magazine Publishers of America, which had hired Abramoff's firm Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP in 2000 for a $10 million campaign against the postal rate increase, revealed where the other half came from.

"I can confirm that based on direction from Preston Gates, the MPA did make a $25,000 contribution to Toward Tradition in 2000," said MPA spokesman Howard J. Rubenstein. The MPA directors "had absolutely no knowledge of how the money would be used, and if it turns out that it was used for an improper purpose, they would be, quite frankly, outraged."

{I added the links within the articles. WaPo link? I think not.}

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