It took six years and two administrations, but the Department of Justice has finally completed its probe into Tom DeLay’s connections to corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff — and found nothing to charge. Mike Allen at Politico reports that Delay’s counsel has been informed that Delay is now free to report that the grand jury has closed the case:
The Justice Department has informed former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) that the government has ended a six-year investigation of his ties to the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to DeLay’s lead counsel in the matter, Richard Cullen, chairman of McGuireWoods.
The investigation lasted through two presidents and four attorneys general. Its demise provides a stark footnote to the lobbying scandals that helped Democrats regain the House majority they held for 40 years and lost in the Republican revolution of 1994, which eventually made the pugnacious DeLay one of Washington’s top power brokers.
A “stark footnote”? I’m not sure why that would be. DeLay apparently didn’t do anything wrong, and he was hardly the only one involved with Abramoff. In fact, over in Nevada, one of the leaders of the Democratic Party should be explaining his own connections to Abramoff in his Senate re-election campaign. (For that matter, Barack Obama didn’t have much reluctance in raising funds at Abramoff’s old firm, either.)
Nonetheless, the travails of DeLay and the GOP in 2006 should serve as a “stark” lesson for Republicans in the midterms. DeLay authored the notorious “K Street Project” that attempted to build a permanent Republican majority by marrying the party to lobbyists. That resulted in an explosion of pork and a curious predilection with so-called “big government conservatism” that exploded spending after George W. Bush took office. That marriage of the federal government and special interests discredited the GOP as an alternative to Democrats, which combined with the scandal led to their downfall in 2006 and 2008.
No more K Street Projects, and no more big-government conservatism. The next Republican majority had better focus on actual reductions in federal government and the end of pork-barrel spending to woo lobbyists.
And now that the Abramoff case has closed, maybe the American media can pursue the story of Paul Magliocchetti and PMA with at least half the vigor of their pursuit of the Abramoff scandal. After all, we have another well-connected lobbyist allegedly laundering campaign contributions and winning legislative gifts for his clients. Are they less interested in a similar scandal tied to Democrats? And if so … why?