Lobbying-and-bribery probe eyes payments to DeLay's wife
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Wednesday September 6, 2006
Recent FBI interviews with members of a lobbying firm indicate that the Justice Department is investigating whether former House Majority Leader Tom Delay's wife earned $215,000 over three years for a no-show job, according to an article by The Wall Street Journal.
"The two-year investigation is examining whether lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others sought legislative favors for their clients by offering expensive meals, sports tickets, golf outings and other gifts to about a dozen lawmakers and congressional aides," reports Brody Mullins.
Excerpts from the WSJ story:
In the last few weeks, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have interviewed several people at the Alexander Strategy Group lobbying firm to determine if Christine DeLay was being paid $3,200 a month -- a total of $215,000 over three years -- but not earning it. In a series of interviews last month, investigators questioned people who used to work at Alexander Strategy as well as people who worked in the same building as the now-defunct firm. "They wanted to know how often she came to the office? What did she do there? How long was she there?" said one person who was interviewed by the FBI.
Alexander Strategy was run by a pair of Mr. DeLay's former aides: Tony Rudy, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges in March; and Edwin Buckham, who remains under investigation. The firm also shared clients with Jack Abramoff.
In last month's interviews, investigators also asked about $244,000 that Mrs. DeLay received from one of Mr. DeLay's fund-raising committees, the Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee, which was housed at the lobbying firm's offices. Investigators also inquired about fees paid to Mr. DeLay's daughter, Dani DeLay Ferro, a longtime political consultant to her father.
Richard Cullen, a lawyer for the DeLay family, said Mrs. DeLay was a "key adviser to her husband and her employment at Armpac and Alexander Strategy was real and valuable." Mr. Cullen has said that Mrs. DeLay's job at the firm was to compile a list of lawmakers' favorite charities. Neither Mr. DeLay nor his wife has been interviewed by the Justice Department, Mr. Cullen said.
FULL WSJ ARTICLE CAN BE READ AT THIS LINK