Representative DeLay’s close ties to Abramoff must be reviewed

Common Cause on Wednesday urged the House Ethics Committee to include in its investigation of Representative Tom DeLay (R-TX) recent evidence that indicates Representative DeLay asked lobbyist Jack Abramoff to raise money for him through a private charity Abramoff controlled.

Recently disclosed e-mails from Abramoff’s files, which refer to “Tom” and “Tom’s requests” and “Leadership is asking,” according to the New York Times, show that Representative DeLay asked Abramoff to raise money for him through a charity Abramoff controlled. It is reasonable to assume that Representative DeLay hoped to use this money for political purposes.

If Representative DeLay solicited money from Abramoff, it would appear to violate a federal statute prohibiting a Member of Congress from accepting gifts from an individual whose interests would be affected by that Member’s actions or duties, the letter states.

Moreover, if Representative DeLay made the request to Abramoff in connection with his decision to provide Abramoff with legislative assistance in his capacity as majority leader, it would appear to violate a House rule that is similar to the federal statute.

“Representative DeLay has had a long relationship with Jack Abramoff,” Common Cause President Chellie Pingree wrote to the Ethics Committee. “There are numerous reports about possible ethics violations that have grown out of this relationship. It is incumbent on the Ethics Committee to conduct a thorough investigation of the ties between Abramoff and Representative DeLay, including this latest evidence produced by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee investigation.”

To view the letter, click here:{FB3C17E2-CDD1-4DF6-92BE-BD4429893665}/ETHICSCOMM_11-8-05_DELAY-ABRAMOFF.PDF