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LITICAL INTELLIGENCE Singing, Soot, Settled, & Sacrificed ELUCIDATING E-MAIL? John Colyandro, executive director for Texans sent the e-mail at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, September 25, 2002. It went to Jim Ellis, whom TRMPAC’s treasurer has called “the decision-maker on the PAC” and to Warren RoBold, the Virginiabased corporate fundraiser. Both men worked closely with U.S. House Majority Fifteen days earlier, Colyandro had sent a blank check to Ellis. Three days after that, Ellis, who was executive director of DeLay’s national PAC, Americans for a Republican Majority, filled in the TRMPAC check for the amount of $190,000 and gave it to Republican National Committee officials including political director Terry Nelson. Today, that $190,000 has become the crux of a high-stakes legal poker game between the Travis County District Attorney and Tom DeLay; spawning felony money laundering indictments of DeLay, Ellis, and Colyandro. The DA alleges that $190,000 in corporate “soft” money that cannot legally be used on political candidates was laundered through the RNC in a TRMPACled conspiracy to have it sent back to certain state rep candidates as fungible “hard” money. In addition to the check, prosecutors allege Ellis gave Nelson a list with the candidates and the amounts. The lawyers for DeLay, Ellis, and Colyandro insist that the money sent to the RNC and the money that came back were in no way connected. Almost two weeks after Ellis gave the RNC the $190,000the largest single expenditure TRMPAC would makeColyandro wrote his September 25 email to inform the two men that state TRMPAC board member, would be going to Washington, D.C. the following week. “Might it be worth her time to visit with anyone at NRCC or RNC about shaking dollars loose,” asked Colyandro. The e-mail raises a question: Why would the men need money from the RNC after just sending it a third of the total amount of corporate money TRMPAC raised? Why send it in the first place? Colyandro went on: “[Shapiro] is VERY[sic] well respected by the White from her, if it got back to Melmann[sic], would be received appropriately.” \(He refers here to White House Political It’s curious that the men would need the help of someone to intervene on their behalf. What problem could the RNC or any Republican have with the majority leader’s plan to stock the Texas Legislature with his partisans, who would then vote exactly his way for congressional redistricting , and ensure GOP dominance of Congress for years to come? Colyandro sent his e-mail at an interesting moment of limbo in the history of the $190,000 \(see, “Tommy and the straight up transaction, as prosecutors allege, why did it take so long to get back to Texas? Bureaucracy? Qualms at the RNC? On October 2, 2002, DeLay met with Ellis and the two appear to have discussed the $190,000. The next day, the RNC cut seven sequential checks numbered from 7470 to 7476 to Texas state representative candidates. The rest, as we know, is history. A spokeswoman for Shapiro says that, indeed, the senator’s 2002 calendar puts her in D.C. during the time mentioned in the e-mail. She traveled to the nation’s capital, for a White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children. “She serves on President Bush’s task force for that,” notes Jennifer Rice, Shapiro’s press secretary. While in D.C., Shapiro managed to steal away from the conference for a visit to the RNC to make fundraising phone calls for the National Republican Legislator Association, for whom she was president at the time. “John Colyandro did not ask her to intervene for TRMPAC on that trip,” says Rice. “If he wrote that to RoBold, he never followed through on her end of it.” SONG OF SCANLON Who is this guy? He was Michael when he worked for Republican Congressman Michael Flanagan in the mid-nineties. He was Sean while he served as a member of the Kensington, Maryland, City Council until he quit in 1998, because he frequently failed to show up for work and council functions. He’s Michael P.S. Scanlon in the criminal complaint filed in federal court by the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity and Fraud Sections. Whatever you want to call him, on November 17 Scanlon flipped and turned state’s witness in the biggest lobbying scandal in the history of the Congress. The Department of Justice alleges that Scanlon worked in collusion with lobbyist Jack Abramoff \(no big rich Indian tribes, then insist they pay Scanlon for grassroots work and public relations. Scanlon secretly split his earnings with Abramoff, who as a registered lobbyist was required to publicly report all client billings. The total take from the six tribes the two men were working is now estimated to be $82 million. And after two years of investigating, the Department of Justice is rolling out its first indictments. None of this is good news for the former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Abramoff and Scanlon told Indian clients, “If you hire us, you get DeLay.” And DeLay was a frequent beneficiary of their largesse once they started bilking Indians. If it’s bad for DeLay, at the moment it’s worse news for Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney. Just as there is no doubt that Abramoff is the 4 THE TEXAS OBSERVER DECEMBER 2, 2005