Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tangled Webs

Another possible reason for the DOJ's probe into Sweeney's finances: Sweeney was funded by lobbyist (and former Tom Delay aide) Edwin Buckman directly. The Washington Post reported this weekend that Buckman channeled a third of his USFN lobbyist monies to himself (the group was first set up as a non-profit but later refiled as a lobbyist after complaints to the FEC). The report says:
...The group's revenue was drawn mostly from clients of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to its records. From an FBI subpoena for the records, it can be inferred that the bureau is exploring whether there were links between the payments and favorable legislative treatment of Abramoff's clients by DeLay's office. ... Abramoff, for his part, once boasted that he had invested a million dollars in Buckham, according to a former Abramoff colleague who said he witnessed the conversation. Abramoff expressed confidence that the funds would bring a good return for his clients, the colleague said. ...
An email from a special interest aide whose companies sent $650,000 to Buckham's group sent Buckham an e-mail expressing appreciation for support:
and recalling Buckham's explanation that one of his roles was to "stop legislation from getting on the floor of the House."
Abramoff also worked to block the legislation referred to in that email. The National Congressional Republican Committee gave several small in kind donations to Sweeney and also gave Buckham's group $500,000 to pay for attack ads. Buckham took a $200,000 commission on the donation. The Post reports, "The NRCC in 2004 paid the eighth-highest fine in FEC history to settle allegations that some of its officials colluded with USFN on the ads in violation of campaign finance laws." According to FEC records there is a $500 cash donation on 9/29/05 and a $200 in-kind donation on 9/30/05 source to the Sweeney campaign from Buckham, given as an individual donor to the campaign. By then, USFN had been closed and Buckham had founded Alexander Strategy Group, a lobbyist firm whose start up contract was secured with Enron funds thanks to Tom DeLay. ASG closed on Jan 6, 2006 due to its ties to Jack Abramoff. Are you dizzy yet?


Blogger democracyinalbany said...

Don't forget the $6,050 that Sweeney got from Alexander Strategies last year before they closed up shop.

And did you know Sweeney chipped in $3,000 to Rick Santorum's campaign fund late last year via his PAC?

4:41 PM  

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