Saturday, April 01, 2006

Another Former DeLay Aide Guilty

Tony Rudy, one of the key players in the Abramoff-Republican Congress lobbying scandal pleaded guilty yesterday to charges that he worked with Abramoff to bribe members of Congress and defraud clients of millions of dollars. Like Michael Scanlon, Rudy is a former staffer of Tom DeLay.

According to
The Washington Post, Rudy is the first to admit to illegal activities while working for Congressman DeLay.

Rudy's plea follows guilty pleas from DeLay's former press secretary, Michael Scanlon, and from Abramoff himself. But, for the first time, an actor in the scandal has admitted to committing illegal acts while working in the Republican leadership suites of the House.
There's also this first reported by the WaPo.

The court papers for the first time formally refer to DeLay as one of those involved in the activities under scrutiny, listing him as "Representative #2." But though the papers show that Rudy traded on DeLay's name, they do not indicate that Rudy has evidence to implicate his former boss.
I had lost track of Rudy and wasn't expecting a plea deal to be announced, so was caught off guard a bit. I imagine that part of the motivation was securing immunity for his wife. For someone so caught up in buying and selling influence in Washington it looks like Rudy will get a very sweet deal.

Rudy's conspiracy charge carries a maximum five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but in exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors agreed to seek a sentence of 24 to 30 months and $100,000 in restitution. They also agreed not to pursue charges against his wife, Lisa, who set up a consulting company that received payments originating from Abramoff's clients.
There was one statement made by Tony Rudy that has to have some members of Congress literally shaking in their boots.

Rudy's plea makes it clear that the federal investigation has far to go. The confession "does not include all of the facts known to me concerning criminal activity in which I or others engaged," he stated.
The Washington Post also has an article outlining Tony Rudy's influence as a member of Tom DeLay's team. I kept looking to see if the WaPo was doing its usual stellar job of circling the wagons for the GOP, but both articles appear to leave the issue out there wide open. Both articles are worth reading if you are following the Abramoff and DeLay scandals.

It's probably obvious that my personal opinion is that DeLay is guilty of massive corruption, bullying and buying of votes. I think he's misused the charity, U.S. Family Network and I believe he illegally laundered money to help candidates in Texas financially. If he isn't guilty of any of these things, then he takes the award away from President Bush as being the single worst judge of character in the world. Scanlon, Rudy and Buckham were all top aides to DeLay and have either pleaded guilty or are still under investigation. If DeLay didn't have anything to do with their illegal activity and he wasn't aware of it, then he simply isn't competent enough to hold public office.

I, for one, think DeLay is going to eventually have himself a bunk in the pokey.

Update: The most extensive Abramoff timeline on the web can be found here. (I am SO modest.) The New York Times article can be found here and they were kind enough to link to the Findlaw posting of the charges and plea agreement. These are always interesting reads.


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