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Tom DeLay Must Go

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For Once, Accountability.

“‘This case is a message from the people of the state of Texas that they want – and expect – honesty and ethics in their public officials,’ said Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. ‘All people have to abide by the law.‘”

Some heartening news that dropped over Thanksgiving vacation: A jury of his peers found Boss DeLay guilty of money-laundering. “Punishment for the first ranges from five years to life in prison, but the former congressman from the Houston suburb of Sugar Land could receive probation…Reporters in the courtroom described DeLay as stunned by the verdict, which came after 19 hours of deliberation.

At this point, I’m cynical enough to think that DeLay will eventually find a way to get this conviction overturned on appeal — particularly given the fact that his defense began with a huge blunder. Still, at least for one day, it was great to hear that Boss DeLay was finally called out for his crimes.

The Ballad of Casino Jack.

The festival was over and the boys were all planning for a fall.
The cabaret was quiet except for the drilling in the wall.
The curfew had been lifted and the gambling wheel shut down.
Anyone with any sense had already left town.
He was standing in the doorway looking like the Jack of Hearts.


Thanks, Bob, I got it from here. As the links above attest, the sordid dealings of “Casino Jack” Abramoff and his GOP associates — most notably Tom DeLay and Bob Ney — made for solid blog fodder here at GitM for several years. So, between that and my current place of work, I probably had more interest than most in Alex Gibney’s Casino Jack and the United States of Money, a documentary recounting Abramoff’s rise-and-fall. And…well, it’s not bad. But, unfortunately, it’s not great either. And in terms of making the points he wants to make, I don’t get the sense Gibney really stuck the landing.

Part of the problem is Casino Jack is a maddeningly mercurial sort — and unlike the recently-released Ney, the soon to trial DeLay, chastened aide Neil Volz, and others, he and “Gimme Five” kickback co-conspirator Michael Scanlon choose not to go on the record here. So, right away, there is a cipher at the center of this ostensibly biographical story. And even more problematic for the film’s narrative and structure: Casino Jack had his fingers in a lot of pies, and if there was any way to game the political system somehow to make money, he was on the case. In short, this is one long, twisted, and convoluted story.

And thus, Gibney is left with the ungainly task of trying to explain how Abramoff turned Northern Marianas sweatshops into a bribe farm for GOP congressmen, and how his shady, playing-both-sides kickback operation gamed Native American casinos. Not to mention how his phantom think-tank on the Delaware coast was in fact a money-laundering outfit. Or how the seemingly Mob-connected takeover of a fleet of Suncruz casino ships — and the murder of its former owner — went down. And, amidst all this, how Abramoff managed to move up the GOP food chain by throwing his money around, and was depressingly successful at it. This is all not even withstanding weird tangents like Red Scorpion. So, while Gibney does an admirable job explaining the details of these various operations, he has to jump through so many hoops to get it all down that the Big Picture often gets lost.

I’m probably being a little too hard on this doc, if only because I went in with very high expectations. I was hoping Casino Jack would be more of a concise and devastating prosecutorial brief about the plague of unfettered money in politics, but it’s more broad and meandering than that. (And, to be fair, whenever you take a subject this broad, there will be some meandering — See also Why We Fight.) Still, as I said, even if the high-level connections aren’t quite nailed down, Gibney does a good job of nailing the specifics of each particular grift — the sweatshops and casinos and whatnot. And, coming across with the nerdy charm of a more buttoned-down, politically-minded version of R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, author and ex-Republican Thomas Frank (The Wrecking Crew, What’s the Matter with Kansas) is an appealing interviewee throughout, and he enlivens the discussion considerably.

Speaking of Frank’s ex-GOP years: If you already knew the contours of this Abramoff story (and I suspect most of the people who bother to see this film will), perhaps the most interesting part of Casino Jack is the first half-hour, which chronicles the old College Republican days of friends Abramoff, Grover Norquist, and Ralph Reed. And from Reed’s penchant for outlandish stunts at campus protests, to Norquist’s unabashed admiration for Leninist tactics, to Abramoff et al’s abortive attempt to engage the Third World in their free-market fundie ways, it’s seem as if the young Reagan Right of the ’80s were mainly just a cracked-funhouse-mirror version of the ’60’s New Left they so despise. (This is also in keeping with what you might expect from books like Rick Perlstein’s Before the Storm, about the ’64 Goldwater campaign.)

Still, as we move into the present day and these young conservatives fan out into the political system, Casino Jack and the United States of Money unfortunately gets its overarching message muddled. Is this movie about the former (Abramoff) or the latter (the U.S.M.)? Is Casino Jack a uniquely well-connected criminal mastermind, or, worse, the clearest expression of a political system overwhelmed by cold, hard cash? It’s true the answer to this question may just be “yes,” but the documentary can’t seem to decide at times if it wants to skewer Abramoff (and, by extension, his “unindicted co-conspirators”) or catch bigger game — the whole rotten system — and as a result, both sorta end up writhing off the hook.

At one point, Casino Jack gets caught up recounting the exceptionally douchey e-mail traffic between Abramoff and Scanlon, which is fun and all. (The best laugh in the movie is when the beach bum lifeguard running their Delaware front operation turns out to be savvier than these two would-be Masters of the Universe: “Uh, you’ve been putting this all in e-mails?”) But, even as we delve into these sordid details, the scarier implications of the Abramoff story feel shortchanged — that not only does this pay-to-play stuff seem business as usual for the Dubya White House and DeLay ring, but worse, that this monied corruption festering at the heart of our republic is both legal and even institutionalized.

And so, when the Citizens United fiasco comes up at the end, it unfortunately feels like a bit of a non-sequitur, rather than the sad culmination of the story we’ve been told for two hours. Casino Jack and the United States of Money is an able attempt at muckraking, but, to my mind, it fails to capture the true horror unfolding here: Jack Abramoff may be languishing in prison right now, and for many, many good reasons. But the mess of a system he thrived in is still right here with us — and if anything, after Citizens United, it might soon be getting worse.

Inside Men at the FEC.

“That’s happened with increasing frequency at the FEC lately. Election-law experts, supporters of campaign-finance regulations, and even some members of the commission itself are expressing growing concern about a string of cases in which the three Republicans on the commission — led by Tom DeLay’s former ethics lawyer — have voted as a block against enforcement, preventing the commission from carrying out its basic regulatory function.” Pete Martin and Zachary Roth of TPM Muckraker delve into how Republicans antithetical to campaign finance reform have effectively sabotaged the FEC. “The FEC, he said, has been made ‘ineffective’ — and not by accident. ‘This is what McConnell had in mind.’

“Of course, the one person who could do the most to get the commission back on track is President Obama…Most experts believe that the White House supports stronger campaign-finance laws as a goal, but, with a host of other issues on its plate, is reluctant to pick a fight with the GOP Senate leader. ‘They’re picking their priorities, and they don’t want to take on Mitch McConnell right now,’ said Hasen. ‘I consider that unfortunate.‘” Anyone else sensing a pattern?

DeLay cries foul.

We have cooperated with everything. We’ve given them everything, including computers; they’ve taken computers that I had here. They’ve gotten everything that’s got anything to do with my life.” A deposed Boss DeLay decries his treatment by the FBI, taking particular umbrage at the investigations into his wife Christine: “She did her work and she was underpaid for the work she did and they can’t make the case. It’s a Justice Department that is running amok. Fish or cut bait. Do something.” Underpaid? Christine DeLay, it may be remembered, was paid $500,000 in PAC funds by the DeLay campaign, $3,300 a month for three years in funds apparently skimmed from the US Family Network, and another half-million in a retirement account set up by former DeLay staffer and lobbyist Edwin Buckham.

Ney’s Nyet-Nyet.

Federal prosecutors build out their case against Bob Ney, and disclose that the disgraced former GOP rep had possibly shady dealings with Abramoff and DeLay’s Russian connections at Naftasib. “Abramoff’s lobbying team got the congressman to intervene with the U.S. Consulate in Moscow to help resolve a passport issue for the daughter of Abramoff client Alexander Koulakovsky, the e-mails show…A charity sponsored by DeLay received a $1 million check from a London law firm linked to the two. Former charity officials told The Washington Post last year the donation originated with Russian oil and gas executives, and was intended to influence DeLay’s vote on an issue affecting the Russian economy.

The Chickens Come Home to Roost.

Remember when Boehner and the GOP banked on their widespread corruption not playing on Election Day? Well, they chose poorly. Among the many seats lost by the GOP last night were those of Abramoff flunkies Conrad Burns, Richard Pombo, and Bob Ney, notorious friend-of-pages Mark Foley, the recently-FBI-implicated Curt Weldon, mistress-beater Don Sherwood, and the fatcat architect of it all, Boss DeLay. (Surviving the corruption purge: the Foley-connected Tom Reynolds, Duke Cunningham‘s replacement, Brian Bilbray, and — though a runoff hopefully won’t shake his waycorrupt Dem William Jefferson.)

Ney Away | DeLay won’t Stay.

Oof, it’s been a bad 24 hours for Casino Jack’s cronies in the House. With the public in an increasingly unforgiving mood towards congressional incumbents, GOP fave and Abramoff flunky Bob Ney drops out of his Ohio House race. And, one day after losing a bid to get his name off the ballot in Sugar Land, Boss DeLay announces he’ll step aside for a write-in candidate. Update: It appears Ney’s leaving will cause some ballot trouble as well for the GOP.

Governing least, governing worst.

“If government is necessary, bad government, at least for conservatives, is inevitable, and conservatives have been exceptionally good at showing just how bad it can be. Hence the truth revealed by the Bush years: Bad government–indeed, bloated, inefficient, corrupt, and unfair government–is the only kind of conservative government there is. Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world-class boeuf bourguignon: If you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are not likely to do it very well.” Perhaps overplaying the Hartzian “America is liberal and liberal only” card just a bit, Boston College professor Alan Wolfe argues convincingly why conservatives can’t govern, and explains how, despite the emerging right-wing consensus to the contrary, Dubya’s many failures and Boss DeLay’s corruption aren’t a betrayal of conservative thinking, but a culmination of it. (By way of Blivet.)

…Lose Some.

“Every redistricting is a partisan political exercise, but this is going to put it at a level we have never seen…That’s the gift that the Supreme Court and Tom DeLay have given us.” In other news, the Court votes 5-4 that DeLay’s Texas redistricting plan needs to be tweaked — namely, that one district needs to be redrawn to accommodate the Voting Rights Act — but is otherwise legal and constitutional. “[W]ith six justices producing 123 pages of opinions, without any five of them able to agree on how to define an unconstitutional gerrymander, politicians of both parties said that the ruling leaves the door wide open to attempts to copy the DeLay strategy in other states.

The Family Business, II.

“[T]here is a distinction between what is legal and what is right. . . . What was DeLay doing for all that money? Even Ed Buckham was not paying DeLay and his family out of the goodness of his heart.” The Washington Post reports that Boss DeLay and his lobbyist cronies were funneling even more money through his wife Christine, bringing the total the DeLay family received from Buckham to — another — half-million.

And DeLay came tumbling after?

“‘It clearly shows some members live in a dream world of high-class living and fictional accounting. DeLay’s office was part of the public deception. It makes you wonder if there are more filings as fictional as this one is turning out to be,’ said Kent Cooper, the former chief of public disclosure for the Federal Election Commission.” Prosecutors disclose an e-mail trail indicating that Boss DeLay’s office knowingly filed false reports about Abramoff-paid boondoggles and were “concerned ‘if someone starts asking questions.’

Hammering Away.

“‘Any rational person in [DeLay's] position would be very concerned,’ said Kendall Coffey, a former federal prosecutor who is now a prominent defense lawyer in Miami. ‘Whether it’s working up the ladder at Enron or a drug organization, it’s classic strategy to work up by getting plea agreements and cooperation at each level.‘” As the GOP preps for a DeLay-less future, it seems that, for Boss DeLay — despite having theoretically left “on his own terms” — the legal woes are just beginning.

No more DeLay.


Breaking news: In a boon for the republic (and likely for the Republican party, now that the poster boy for their culture of corruption will be out of sight through November), Boss DeLay is done. “DeLay’s fall has been stunningly swift, one of the most brutal and decisive in American history.

Put Rudy in.

Another crack emerges in the DeLay-Abramoff Ring: The Feds flip Tony Rudy, a former top flunky of Boss DeLay’s, which is particularly bad news for the former “Mayor of Capitol Hill,” Bob Ney. “According to papers filed today, Rudy will provide key corroborating information regarding the case prosecutors are building against [Ney], who was taken by Abramoff on a lavish trip to Scotland in 2002.Update: The Post profiles Rudy. “‘How did Abramoff and Rudy meet, through JDate? No, they met through DeLay,’ Frank said.

The Family Business.

“Abramoff, for his part, once boasted that he had invested a million dollars in Buckham, according to a former Abramoff colleague…Abramoff expressed confidence that the funds would bring a good return for his clients, the colleague said. Good news/bad news for Boss DeLay: While DoL Robert Novak reports that Casino Jack is not implicating the Hammer as part of his plea bargain, the WP finds that former DeLay Chief of Staff Edwin Buckham skimmed over a million dollars from the US Family Network, a “pro-family” nonprofit funded by Abramoff clients. [Graphic] “In addition, Buckham and his wife, Wendy, acting through their consulting firm, made monthly payments averaging $3,200-$3,400 apiece to DeLay’s wife, Christine, for three of the years in which he collected money from the USFN and some other clients.” (Boss DeLay, it bears remembering also paid his wife and kids a half mill in PAC funds.) Well, I guess if by “pro-family” you’re talking about the Buckham and DeLay families, this is all money well spent.

Tom Tom Club.

“In the three Republican primaries that DeLay has faced since he was first elected in 1984, he has never received less than 80 percent of the vote, until now. Over the past four years, the percentage of Republicans who have had enough of the Hammer has doubled.” With perhaps a dollop of wishful thinking, Salon‘s Joe Conason parses the results of Boss DeLay’s recent primary win.

Jacked In.

“In a different era I’d be killed on the street or have poison poured into my coffee.” Matt Drudge previews a forthcoming Vanity Fair interview with Casino Jack, and interspersed among the delusions of grandeur are more indications that GOP higher-ups — among them Dubya, DeLay, Newt, Burns, Mehlman, and McCain — knew Abramoff better than they’re letting on. “You’re really no one in this town unless you haven’t met me.Update: Reuters confirms.

Sugar Land Sours on DeLay?

With three opponents all bucking to take him into a runoff situation, Boss DeLay faces a tougher GOP primary than usual in his home district this Tuesday. (In a January poll, 68% of primary voters remained undecided.) And, even if he emerges from the primary dust-up relatively unscathed, DeLay will then face a credible and well-financed Democratic opponent in former Rep. Nick Lampson, who, in the same poll, led the Hammer by eight points. “It will not help DeLay that his district is more Democratic, ironically by his own making…Always a strong candidate in his own races, DeLay surrendered GOP voters in the realignment to bolster some other Republican districts. Now, after contending with indictment and departure from the House leadership, he could be facing the loss of the very seat he used to rise to power.Update: Or not. Boss DeLay coasts to victory over his three primary challengers with 62% of the vote.

Justices and Gerrymanders.

The Bush administration loves it, but many Justice Dept. officials think it’s illegal…Now, it’s the Supreme Court’s turn to weigh in on Boss DeLay’s gerrymandering plan in Texas. “Two years ago, justices split 5-4, in a narrow opening for challenges claiming party politics overly influenced election maps. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was the key swing voter in that case, and on Wednesday expressed concerns about at least part of the Texas map.” (Rehnquist and O’Connor sided against the map challenge then, so a switch by Roberts or Alito will only mean a larger majority against the DeLay redistricting, should the same votes hold.) Update: Justice Ginsburg finds the subject exhausting, and Dahlia Lithwick reports in.

Audit to Silence.

“‘This audit was political retaliation by Tom DeLay’s cronies to intimidate us for blowing the whistle on DeLay’s abuses,’ McDonald said. ‘Enlisting the IRS to intimidate critics is a dirty trick reminiscent of Richard Nixon…It is not a crime to report a crime, as we did with DeLay.’Texans for Public Justice, a non-profit organization critical of the DeLay ring’s hold over their home state, has been cleared of any wrongdoing in an IRS audit — one seemingly triggered, it was discovered after a FOIA request, by Boss DeLay’s minions. “The [instigating] lawmaker, House Ways and Means Committee member Sam Johnson (R-Tex.), was in turn responding to a complaint about the group…from Barnaby W. Zall, a Washington lawyer close to DeLay and his fundraising apparatus, according to IRS documents.

Delay for Jack = Jack outs DeLay?

The Justice Department, along with Casino Jack’s lawyers, ask for a delay of sentencing for Abramoff in the Suncruz case, so that he can continue working with the Feds on the bigger picture of GOP corruption. “‘Mr. Abramoff has been working very hard in terms of his cooperation,’ said Neal Sonnett, Abramoff’s attorney in Miami.” Let’s hope so.

Shadies gotta stick together.

Despite well-publicized concerns in their own Justice Department (which were overruled by senior officials), the White House rides to the rescue of Boss DeLay’s troubling redistricting plan by filing an amicus brief before the Supreme Court. “DeLay’s efforts on behalf of the plan resulted in his being admonished by the House Ethics Committee and indicted on charges of illegally diverting money to the campaigns of state legislators who drew the new map.

Casino Jack vs. the Gym Rats / The Boehner Blitz.

Behind closed doors, the Republicans talk amongst themselves about lobbying reform, with the status quo beating back a challenge by reformers to vote on new GOP leadership across the board (except for Hastert.) “‘All we were doing was asking us to look in the mirror,’ Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Calif.), a co-sponsor of the motion, said after the vote. ‘The shadow of [Jack] Abramoff is not a mere distraction but a serious problem to address.’” Meanwhile, in the race for Majority Leader, while Blunt might be on the threshold of maintaining the DeLay ring’s hold over the House GOP, Boehner apparently proved himself no friend to reform either. Speaking on the GOP’s anti-lobbying package, he “scoffed that Congress knows how to do just two things well — nothing and overreact, according to witnesses.” And Boehner leads the candidates in former-staffers-turned-lobbyists.

But, give ‘em credit — the GOP have at least succeeded in kicking lobbyists out of the House gym. “The rule change passed overwhelmingly, 379 to 50, but not before Democrats — and some Republicans — ridiculed it as meaningless. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) suggested that lawmakers compromise and change the rules so that lobbyists must yield to lawmakers who want to use the gym equipment they are on. ‘I’m a gym guy; I’ve never seen anybody lobbied there,’ said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). ‘I’ve never seen any nefarious plots hatched on the treadmill.'” Just in case, though, Boss DeLay voted against the change.

Update: It’s Boehner on the second ballot over Blunt, 122-109. (Looks like the Shadegg-Boehner deal went through — On the first ballot, Blunt, who will remain Majority Whip, was only 7 votes shy of winning.)

Blunt talk.

“‘Clearly, Blunt has demonstrated great leadership; Cantor has, too,’ Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) said. ‘Are we saying we don’t trust anyone in our leadership? That makes the case that everybody in Washington is on the take, that we’re all corrupt.'” Yeah, that sounds about right…Sensing electoral doom in the growing public perception that the GOP is rife with corruption, Boehner and Shadegg contemplate joining forces to knock off Boss DeLay’s heir apparent, Roy Blunt, in the House leadership race.

Off Abramoff.

“‘I don’t get the sense many people are paying attention,’ said Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), who has been hoping party activists would lead demands for a shake-up. ‘Corruption is still 90 percent an inside-the-Beltway’ issue.” According to the WP, the GOP are finding that the Ballad of Casino Jack isn’t playing in Peoria just yet, at least among the conservative base. “‘The question is, is this a climate where an actual reform candidate could be elected to a leadership position?’ [GOP Rep Zach] Wamp asked. An initial pulse-taking of voters suggests that the answer is no, he and others said.'” Well, I’d expect the issue will muster more enthusiasm among Democratic and independent voters, and particularly after the indictments start rolling in.

Beware GOP bearing gifts.

Still trying to get ahead of the Abramoff story, the House GOP unveil their new anti-lobbying bill. The package includeds “the banning of privately sponsored travel” (so long, Scotland boondoggles), as well as “a virtual ban on gifts, except for inconsequential items like baseball caps, and a provision that will affect few people: elimination of congressional pensions for anyone convicted of a felony related to official duties…One important part of the GOP plan would increase — from one year to two years — the waiting period before former lawmakers and senior staff members could lobby Congress.” Common Cause’s response: Sounds like a good start, but let’s talk enforcement. As for the Dems, they’ll announce their own plan — with a stricter gift ban — later this week.

Update: “Today we as Democrats are declaring our commitment to change, change to a government as good and as honest as the people that we serve.” The Dems announce their own reform plans, which “go further than the Republicans’ proposals. Rather than limiting the value of a gift to $20, as House Republicans are considering, Democrats would prohibit all gifts from lobbyists….Lawmakers would have to publicly disclose negotiations over private-sector jobs…House and Senate negotiators working out final versions of legislation would have to meet in open session, with all members of the conference committee — not just Republicans — having the opportunity to vote on amendments. Legislation would have to be posted publicly 24 hours before congressional consideration.” And, as bc posted in the comments, James Carville and Paul Begala have offered their own comprehensive campaign finance-ethics plan, which involves public financing of candidates and a total ban on incumbent fundraising. Now that’s the type of bold, outside-the-box thinking I’d like to see more of right now. Particularly given that, as the Washington Post pointed out, the GOP ethics bill won’t work at all unless it’s coupled with serious campaign finance reform.

Ney Nayed…Denny and Ralphie next?

Casino Jack’s plea deal claims another Congressional victim: Over the weekend (when I discovered his name sounds like “neigh” and not “knee”) and as expected, “Freedom Fries” sponsor and DeLay flunky Bob Ney agreed to step down as House Admin chair. And now, a few Congress-watchers are starting to take a closer look at Speaker Hastert‘s role in the Abramoff scandals, and in perpetuating the DeLay Ring’s rule. “‘I suppose that DeLay was simply a much more inviting target for the [Democrats], so Hastert is left alone,’ said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). ‘Maybe people will start focusing on Hastert now.’

Meanwhile, as DeLay’s numbers plummet in his home district, things aren’t looking so hot either for former GOP wunderkind Ralph Reed, an old Abramoff college friend with a long and troubling e-mail evidence chain to Casino Jack. “‘After reading the e-mail, it became pretty obvious he was putting money before God,’ said Phil Dacosta, a Georgia Christian Coalition member who had initially backed Reed. ‘We are righteously casting him out.’

The House that Jack Built.

In the continuing Abramoff fallout department, a disgraced Boss DeLay has picked up a primary challenger, Tom Campbell, in his home district. “‘If we don’t clean house in March, we’ll lose the House in November,’ Campbell said.” Meanwhile, as the GOP tries to choose between two K-Street darlings for their new majority leader, the House looks to the McCain-Shays bill of last month as a template for new lobbying restrictions.”The McCain bill would beef up lobbying disclosure considerably and cover grass-roots lobbying campaigns, which now go unreported. It would also require lobbyists to report each fundraising event that they host or sponsor for candidates for federal office, including the amount raised. In addition, the McCain bill would require lobbyists to report the donations they give to lawmakers directly and at events that honor lawmakers or entities that they created or control. It would also require lobbyists to disclose quarterly — which would be twice as often as they file now — any gift worth more than $20 that they give to lawmakers or their aides, including meals and tickets to events.” Sounds like a start…but it’ll take more than increased disclosure to transform a Washington culture that’s turned rancid in recent years thanks to overwhelming lobbyist influence.

Post-DeLay Fallout.

More bad news for Boss DeLay: Once again, a Texas court has refused to dismiss money-laundering charges against him. Meanwhile, Speaker Dennis Hastert taps David Dreier to pen new lobbying rules for the House (ignoring the fact that Dems, with the aid of Republican Chris Shays, composed stricter lobbying legislation months ago.) And GOP insiders (and, basically, DeLay flunkies) Roy Blunt and John Boehner scramble to take DeLay’s place as majority leader, despite both being tainted by Abramoff contributions. Two days after the Hammer’s fall, and it’s already becoming clear: The only real way to cleanse Congress of this current wave of corruption is the ballot box, come November.

Hammer Falls.

“The job of majority leader and the mandate of the Republican majority are too important to be hamstrung, even for a few months, by personal distractions.” Whether it be due to Abramoff’s encroaching testimony, the uprising of GOP moderates, Duke Cunningham’s wire, or all of the above, Boss DeLay has admitted defeat and given up his post for good. While this is excellent news, there’s still much work to do: The ringleader may be dethroned, but the DeLay Ring persists. Hopefully prosecutors in Texas and the Justice Department, as well as members of Congress shamed by the rampant corruption characterizing DeLay’s reign, won’t rest until the Hammer is thrown out of the House and taken to the woodshed. In fact, with any luck, Boss DeLay will be a featured member of the Big House before long.

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