Fraud and Corruption in the NewsSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Fraud and Corruption in the News

12 August 2005 at 9:19:13 AM

DeLay's friend Jack Abramoff Indicted on Fraud Charges

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a key figure in investigations involving House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on fraud charges arising from a 2000 deal to buy casino boats.

The indictment, returned by a grand jury in Fort Lauderdale, charges that Abramoff and an associate, 36-year-old New York businessman Adam Kidan, used a fake wire transfer to defraud two lenders out of some $60 million to finance the deal for SunCruz Casinos.

Abramoff and Kidan are charged with five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.  Each count carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

FEC Finds Misreporting by DeLay Committee

IMAGE: Tom DeLayWASHINGTON - A federal audit of a political fund-raising committee founded by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay found that it failed to report more than $300,000 in debts owed to vendors and incorrectly paid for some committee activities with money from another DeLay-connected political committee.

The Federal Election Commission's report didn't indicate whether it would pursue enforcement action against Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee.

ARMPAC's executive director, Jim Ellis, was indicted in Texas in connection with a separate DeLay-connected committee, Texans for a Republican Majority. In that case, Ellis is charged with money laundering and accepting illegal political contributions for state legislative campaigns. DeLay has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case

Charges against DeLay aides upheld

AUSTIN - A state district judge refused Tuesday to dismiss charges of money laundering and accepting illegal political contributions against two associates of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

Judge Bob Perkins denied arguments from John Colyandro and Jim Ellis that the charges were based on an unconstitutionally vague law and that the indictments were improperly worded.

Lawyers for Colyandro, who worked for DeLay's fundraising committee Texans for a Republican Majority, and Jim Ellis, who worked for Americans for a Republican Majority, have said they will appeal, likely delaying any trial for at least several months.

The charges stem from the 2002 Texas legislative elections. The money-laundering charges are based on $190,000 in corporate money that was sent to the Republican National State Elections Committee.

That committee then gave the same amount of money in donations to seven Texas House candidates.

Colyandro and Ellis each were indicted on one count of money laundering, and Colyandro faces 13 counts of unlawful acceptance of a corporate political contribution.

James Tobin Indicted on Charges of Election-Tampering - and the Republican National Committee is paying his bills

For years -- literally years now -- we've been telling you about the Republican election-tampering scam from New Hampshire on election


  day 2002. This was the case in which the state Republican party hired a company to jam the phones of Democratic and union phone banks doing get out the vote work on election day in what was expected to be a tight race between now-Sen. John Sununu and then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.

Election-tampering pure and simple.

The then-executive director of the New Hampshire Republican party and a consultant involved in the scheme are now doing time for their role in the caper. And though the DOJ has done about everything it can to drag its feet on the case, as we first reported last year the kingpin in the case, NRSC northeast regional director James Tobin himself was finally indicted.

Now, Tobin was then the Northeast Regional Director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, working under then-Chairman Bill Frist. (Later he became the regional chairman of Bush-Cheney 2004; he stepped down when he was indicted.)

Frist has refused ever to answer questions about what he knew about the scam. And various RNC officials going back almost three years now have disavowed any knowledge of the case at all. Had nothing to do with it, just a rogue operation, etc.

And now, finally, we have proof that all along the RNC has continued to pay Tobin's legal bills -- already totalling more than $700,000 before the man has even gone to trial.

This one is simply a no-brainer. Yes, an organization may be morally or even legally obligated to pay an employees legal bills for trouble they got in to in the course of their work. But that doesn't apply if he broke laws and was acting without authorization and in express contravention of his employers' wishes. It's true that Tobin hasn't been convicted yet. But his guilt or innocence -- in the colloquial sense of the terms -- is not at issue. His defense has centered entirely on claims that his acts didn't violate any laws or that he has immunity for various reasons.

Put simply, the fact that the RNC is paying Tobin's legal bills means either that he was acting under authorization or, frankly, that they're trying to keep him quiet. There's really no other reasonable explanation of this.

Before Congress left Washington for the summer, Republicans quietly inserted a provision into the Transportation Appropriations bill that would repeal the cap on the amount of money a "Leadership PAC" can donate to a political party. The bill is set to come up for a vote in the fall and could be a political disaster for Democrats.

By repealing the caps, Senators and Representatives will be able to raise substantial sums of money for their leadership PACs from the same donors who have already maxed out to their campaign committees. As a result, they will be able to launder these contributions backs to their campaigns through the RNC, NRSC or NRCC.

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