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EDITORIAL Divine Intervention God Bless you Tony Rudyare we the only ones with political instinctsThis whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is BSNot only do you kick himyou kick him until he passes outthen beat him over the head with a baseball batthen roll him up in an old rug… Mike Scanlon e-mail to Tony Rudy in 1998, discussing Bill Clinton, whose impeachment the two DeLay aides were helping their boss push through the House 1111r he scheme that cost former Majority Leader Tom DeLay his U.S. House seat was built on a machine that extracted money from K Street lob byists to fuel Republican political campaigns and fund a stunningly extravagant lifestyle for lobbyists and members of Congress who would deliver critical votes. It began in 1994, when DeLay went to the corporate lobby for money to compete with Newt Gingrich’s fundraising. By his own account, DeLay directed $2 million in lobby money to Republican House candidates that year. As lobbyist Tom Rher told The Washington Post at the time, “We’d rustle up checks for the guy and make sure Tom got the credit.” That direct line to the corporate lobby funded DeLay’s rise to power. By 2003 his fundraising operation was bringing in $12,785 a dayfar surpassing anything ever done by a member of the U.S. House. As whip, and later as majority leader, DeLay lavished funds on the campaigns of Republican candidates who supported him and threatened to fund primary opponents to challenge Republican members who opposed him. One of his contributions to the political lexicon is the use of “primary” as a verb, derived from DeLay’s threats “to primary” defiant members of his own party. Earlier this month, that same direct line to corporate money ended Tom DeLay’s career. DeLay had achieved what few thought possible: Using the “K Street Project,” he domesticated the corporate lobby. From its modest beginning in 1995, when DeLay summoned lobbyists into his leadership office and pointed to a Grover Norquist spreadsheet that included their contributions to Democrats, the project grew into an elaborate pay-to-play program by which DeLay, anti-tax activist Norquist, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and others would vet candidates for top corporate lobby positions. Only Republicans made the cut. They were hired with an implied understanding that they would contribute the annual maximum to Republican candidates and campaigns. Jack Abramoff and his partner Mike Scanlon did their part, taking their cut from their $82 million Indian client billing scheme and sending along what Sicilians call tributo to Republican campaigns and advocacy groups. On one single day three years ago, Abramoff ordered the Coushatta Indian Tribal Council to make more than $300,000 in political contributions. It was also by the unwritten rules of the K Street Project that Scanlon, DeLay’s former press aide, made a $500,000 contribution to the national Republican Governors Association in 2002. Abramoff, Scanlon, and Tony Rudy, who had served as DeLay’s assistant chief of staff, were “rustling up checks” when a Department of Justice task force caught up with them. In court documents DOJ lawyers filed in Rudy’s prosecution, DeLay was named as “Representative #2.” Abramoff, Scanlon, and Rudy have all pled guilty to felonies. Those same DOJ lawyers were looking at Representative #2 earlier this month, when he announced he will resign from the House seat he has held since 1984. He told his pastor that God wanted him to withdraw from the election and leave Congress. Lou Dubose Former Observer editor Lou Dubose is coauthor, with Jan Reid, of the PublicAffairs political thriller, The Hammer Comes Down: The Nasty, Brutish and Shortened Political Life of Tom DeLay. THE TEXAS OBSERVER I VOLUME 98, NO. 8 I A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor Ronnie Dugger Executive Editor Jake Bernstein Editor Barbara Belejack Associate Editor Dave Mann Publisher Charlotte McCann Associate Publisher Julia Austin Circulation Manager Lara George Art Director/Webmaster Matt Omohundro Poetry Editor Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editors Roxanne Bogucka, Laurie Baker Staff Writers Forrest Wilder, Tim Eaton Editorial Interns Leah Caldwell, Rachel Mehendale, Sofia Resnick, Kelly Sharp, Elizabeth L. Taylor Contributing Writers Nate Blakeslee, Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Steven G. Kellman, Lucius Lomax, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross, Andrew Wheat Staff Photographers Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum, Steve Satterwhite Contributing Artists Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Doug Potter Editorial Advisory Board David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, John Kenneth Galbraith, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid Texas Democracy Foundation Board Lou Dubose, Molly Ivins, Susan Hays, D’Ann Johnson, Jim Marston, Gilberto Ocarias, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Sharron Rush, Ronnie Dugger In Memoriam Bob Eckhardt,1913-2001, Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 The Texas Observer \(ISSN 0040-4519/ except during January and August when there is a 4 week break between non-profit foundation, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone E-mail [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page . Periodicals Postage paid at Austin, TX and at additional mailing offices. Subscriptions One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13 per year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Books & the Culture is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. APRIL 21, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3