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DeLay's editor once married to Ex-Majority Leader's former spokesman, speechwriter

John Byrne
Published: Thursday January 11, 2007
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Update: Tom DeLay's literary agent, Esther Fedorkevich, issued the following statement Friday: "The proposal was submitted to several publishing houses, and Penguin's Sentinel imprint won the right to publish it in an auction. I have no further comment."

Following up on Wednesday's exclusive report, RAW STORY has learned that the editor of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's book No Retreat, No Surrender was once married to DeLay's one-time speechwriter and spokesman.

Bernadette Malone, Senior Editor of Sentinel Publishing, the Penguin-owned imprint slated to release DeLay's book, is under fire from some of her own staff – one of whom even likened her to Judith Regan, the recently axed editor who tried to publish OJ Simpson's hypothetical confessional If I Did It.

"The cover of disgraced ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's upcoming book, No Retreat, No Surrender, has set off a firestorm at Penguin-owned Sentinel Publishing," The New York Post's Page Six noted. "Sentinel publisher Adrian Zackheim called reports of dissension in the ranks 'groundless and slimy.'"

Malone was formerly the wife of Michael Connolly, a political lobbyist who, before handling communications for DeLay, also worked with retired Congressman Henry J. Hyde, the House Judiciary Committee, and the Department of Homeland Security.

In 1998, Connolly served as communications assistant to Hyde when the former Illinois congressman chaired the House Judiciary Committee during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial (pdf link).

"During some of the most tumultuous months of the Clinton impeachment proceedings, Connolly worked in Washington, DC, writing press releases and materials in the press secretary's office of the House Judiciary Committee," Tina Pamintuan wrote in 2000.

In her profile, Pamintuan noted that Connolly didn't let politics affect his business decions while working as an independent consultant.

"Donkey, elephant, or whatever else, Connolly's happy to work with just about anyone," Pamintuan wrote. "He doesn't turn down clients on a partisan basis as many of the big firms do; however, if he feels uncomfortable with a candidate's stance on an issue, Connolly may decline to work with him or her on that issue."

Connolly worked for DeLay as recently as last April, assisting with the release of his official resignation notice. DeLay was indicted on state campaign finance charges in September of 2005, and although his supporters called the indictment a "political witchhunt," some Republicans had reportedly urged him to step down from his post. DeLay has also been tied to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and was criticized for accompanying the convicted lobbyist on several expensive trips and junkets.

In 1995, both Malone and Connolly attended the Young America's Foundation's National Journalism Center – which is "is a product of the American Conservative Union," according to the Guide to Uncovering the Right on Campus – and their names can be found on the school's alumni pages (Connolly in the summer and Malone in the spring of 1995). Other notable alumni from the school include pundit Ann Coulter, Regnery Publishing Vice President Harry W. Crocker III, and Bush/Quayle 1992 deputy communications director Mike Caputo.

After graduating from the State University of New York-Binghamton, Bernadette Malone "worked for conservative columnist Robert Novak as an editorial assistant and then as a reporter," wrote editorials for the conservative New Hampshire Union-Leader, and, in the summer of 2001, began a year and a half working as an editor for Regnery.

Michael Connolly's mother is Pat Buchanan's sister, Kathleen Buchanan Connolly, who worked as a legislative assistant and in the White House during the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations and has more recently worked as personal secretary to Robert Novak.

"Her husband, Mike Connolly, is Henry Hyde’s press secretary, and her mother-in-law’s brother is Pat Buchanan, whom she wouldn’t talk about when I interviewed her recently," media critic Dan Kennedy wrote in an interview for the Boston Phoenix a few years back.

But Malone has never hidden her ties to many prominent conservatives.

"Her story is similar to that of other young conservatives, who never really thought about journalism or how to pursue it as a career," the Christian Science Monitor reported. "Like Ms. Malone, their experience changed when they encountered conservative organizations that offer training and support to journalists."

Malone told the paper that young conservative writers "are out there looking for" support, "like I was when I was 18, [and] are relieved when they stumble upon this journalistic community, even if it's an insular one."

Now remarried, Michael Connolly is presently on the faculty for Avalon School, where he teaches Lower and Upper School history and government. A call placed to Connolly by RAW STORY wasn't returned, and a Sentinel spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment asking whether Connolly had spoken to Malone about the book.

(Additional research for this article was provided by RAW STORY's Ron Brynaert, Muriel Kane and Michael Roston)