Friday, May 06, 2005

Island Pork and a Lobbyist's Pockets

Your tax dollars were used to buy votes -- that benefited a lobbyist.

The Los Angeles Times reports that two former aides of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) meddled in Siapan politics -- with US tax dollars -- to win a lobbying deal for Jack Abramoff. Mr Abramoff is at the center of grand jury and House Ethics Committee probes into Rep DeLay.

Aides Edwin Buckham and Michael Scanlon went to the US Territory of the Northern Mariana Islands in 1999. They lobbied a pair of local lawmakers to swing their votes for a new Speaker of the House in the territory. That new Speaker then pressured the Governor to restore the lobbying contract the Islands had with Mr Abramoff.

Shortly after that, Mr Abramoff had a $100,000 a month contract with Siapan.

And the two lawmakers suddenly had big chuncks of federal money flowing into their district. The LA Times reports Rep DeLay was apparently behind their sudden pork barrel money. (LAT)

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