Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Next to Fall

"Lobby Firm Is Scandal Casualty" sayz the Washington Post

One of Washington's top lobbying operations will shut down at the end of the month because of its ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former House majority leader Tom DeLay.

Alexander Strategy Group, which had thrived since its founding in 1998 thanks largely to its close connections to DeLay (R-Tex.), will cease to operate except for a relatively small business-development division, Edwin A. Buckham, the former top DeLay aide who owns the company, said yesterday.

Buckham said in a telephone interview that the company was fatally damaged by publicity about the ongoing federal investigation into the affairs of Abramoff, who pleaded guilty last week to fraud and conspiracy charges. Abramoff is cooperating with prosecutors in their probe of congressional corruption.

DeLay was indicted in Texas last year on money laundering and other charges. He is one of several lawmakers under scrutiny in the Abramoff case, sources knowledgeable about the investigation have said.

"Reports in the press have made it difficult to continue as a lobbying/political entity," Buckham said.

Buckham's firm employed DeLay's wife, Christine, for four years. It also benefited by working closely with Abramoff. Abramoff's plea agreement mentioned his close ties to Tony C. Rudy, one of Buckham's colleagues at ASG, identified in the court papers as "Staffer A."

Rudy, a former DeLay aide, worked for Abramoff before joining ASG. According to the plea document, a political consulting firm run by Rudy's wife allegedly received $50,000 in exchange for official actions Rudy took while working for DeLay.
Live by the squeeze, die by the squeeze. While Mr. Abramoff disgrace will likely net more Republicans than Democrats--the Republicans have controlled Congress since 1994--more than enough from the Donkey side of the aisle wil l have some 'splaining to do. Including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, from what I hear. Now, a lobby firm that at the least rode Abramoff's coattails closes up.


Whoever is implicated in malfeasance by the ongoing investigation into Abramoff's corruption will have their day in court. If they're guilty, then they deserve whatever time they get, no matter which party they serve. Greasing palms may be as old as politics, but bilking the people and misusing our hard-earned tax dollars in the process is a crime. Criminals do not deserve to lead us.

A Washington clean-up may serve notice to the Republicans on the hill. Lately, they've looked more and more like the Democrats they replaced. Perhaps this shakeup will remind them of why the people put them there to begin with.

As for hangers-on to Abramhoff, like this firm, the less of them, the better. One down, how many more to go?