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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Following the money

For the past few days, I've been working on a post about the Alexander Strategy Group, a Republican lobbying group in DC with clear links to Rep. Tom DeLay (under indictment) and confessed criminal and lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Washington Post has a story about their ties to these figures in the January 10 edition:
[former DeLay aide and ASG owner Edwin A.] 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.
Additionally, Bloomberg reported a few days ago that the Rep. Duke Cunningham (CA) affair is also linked to the lobbying firm (dubbed "DeLay, Inc.").

A trifecta!

However, it would appear that I'm too late to the story. The Alexander Strategy Group is closing its doors. The Post story again (hat tip to Laura Rozen):
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.
Oh, but read the fine print. A dozen of the firm's lobbyists plan to start a new firm.

So, the dirt still matters.

What have I been doing? Well, the media stories about Abramoff and DeLay tend to focus on the corporate and Indian clients and the various legislative interests. I decided to look at the firm members' campaign contributions, using data from Open Secrets. Specifically, I examined their contributions in the current (2006) election cycle:

Terry Allen

Mark Alsalih: no records
Paul Behrends
Edwin A. Buckham
Anne Duke: no records
Karl Gallant
Dan Gans
Terry Haines
Christian Hofreiter: no records
Mike Mihalke
John J. Powell
Tony C. Rudy
Allison R. Shulman
Edward B. Stewart

Obviously, a more complete study would examine contributions dating back more than one election cycle. I invite a reader to do the work.

In any case, what are the commonalities? Well, unsurprisingly, most of those who gave wrote checks to DeLay (TX). Most also contributed to Rep. Bobby Jindal (LA) and Rep. Don Manzullo (IL).

A fair number also gave to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (MI), Rep. John E. Sweeney (NY), Rep. Jim McCrery (LA), Rep. Spencer Bachus (AL), Rep. Mike Ferguson (NJ), Re. Mark Kennedy (MN), Rep. Richard Baker (LA), Rep. Tom Feeney (FL) and Rep. Sam Graves (MO).

In all, dozens of candidates have already received checks.

What do these men have in common, other than their Republican party affiliation? Why would the ASG lobbyists give thousands and thousands of dollars to these incumbents well in advance of the 2006 election?

Inquiring minds want to know.

I do see three members of Louisiana's delegation up there...hmmmm.

Ideas? Patterns?

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