Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

SignOn San Diego has a good story that ties the Randy Cunningham conviction to Tom Delay. From the story:

Wilkes has been identified as "co-conspirator No. 1" in the Cunningham case, accused of giving $630,000 in cash and favors to the former Rancho Santa Fe congressman. Cunningham sat on the influential House defense appropriations subcommittee, which helped create programs that resulted in at least $95 million in contracts for ADCS.


Even before PerfectWave's patent disputes were resolved, it was donating money to key politicians in Washington.

On Sept. 20, 2002, three months after the company was founded, it donated $15,000 to Delay's Texas PAC. By the end of 2003, Max and Ellen Gelwix made more than $50,000 in political contributions, mostly to key Republican officials in the House leadership or the House Appropriations Committee.

Among other contributions, the Gelwixes donated $10,000 to DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority PAC; $11,000 to Future Leaders PAC, headed by Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee; $10,000 to Rely on Your Beliefs PAC, headed by acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri; and $10,000 to Superior California Federal Leadership Fund, headed by Rep. John Doolittle, R-Granite Bay, who is on the Appropriations Committee.

The same month that Wilkes launched PerfectWave, he hired Alexander Strategy Group – composed of DeLay insiders – as his lobbying group on Capitol Hill.

The group, which is headed by DeLay's former chief of staff Ed Buckham, staffed with former DeLay employees and included DeLay's wife as a consultant, has a reputation in Washington as a conduit to DeLay's office.

Over the next three years, Wilkes paid about $630,000 in lobbying fees to the group. Although Wilkes' own two-man lobbying group – Group W Advisors – officially represented PerfectWave in Washington, Group W Advisors was represented by the Alexander Strategy Group.

During 2003 and 2004, as Wilkes pushed for contracts for PerfectWave and his other companies, DeLay was a frequent flier on a corporate jet partly owned by Wilkes and was often seen in his company at Southern California golf courses.

Also on the Delay front is this story from the American-Statesman:

Capital Athletic Foundation, a charity run by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff now at the center of an influence-peddling investigation on Capitol Hill, told the IRS it gave away more than $330,000 in grants in 2002 to four other charities that say they never received the money.

The largest grant the foundation listed in its 2002 tax filing was for $300,000 to P'TACH of New York, a nonprofit that helps Jewish children with learning disabilities.

"We've never received a $300,000 gift, not in our 28 years," a surprised Rabbi Burton Jaffa, P'TACH's national director, told the Austin American-States- man. "It would have been gone by now. I guess I would have been able to pay some teachers on time."

Federal investigators have not contacted P'TACH about the grant, Jaffa said. Representa- tives of three other nonprofits that supposedly received Capital Athletic money also said they have not been contacted.

The grant-reporting discrepancy raises further questions about Abramoff's use of the foundation's finances as he built one of the most successful and well-connected lobbying practices in Washington. Abramoff's dealings already have led to the indictment of a Bush administration official, a subpoena for a GOP committee chairman and investigations by the Justice Department, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Senate.

The discrepancy also follows e-mails between Abramoff and members of his lobbying team that say then-House Republican Leader Tom DeLay of Sugar Land wanted to raise money through Capital Athletic for an unspecified purpose. In one of those e-mails, Abramoff announced a $200,000 fundraising goal.

DeLay does not recall making such a request, his lawyer, Richard Cullen, said Wednesday. Capital Athletic's tax return does not indicate whether Abramoff reached his $200,000 goal.

But around the time Capital Athletic's tax form was filed in fall 2003, listing the $300,000 donation P'TACH says it didn't get, a DeLay-created charity called Celebrations for Children was begun with $300,000 in seed money.

Celebrations for Children was a short-lived effort to raise money for children's charities by providing donors with special access to DeLay, plus yacht trips and other enticements, during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. Watchdog groups protested, claiming the fundraiser violated a new ban on accumulating unlimited "soft" money, and DeLay dropped it in May 2004.

E-mails and documents released so far in the ongoing investigations do not detail where Capital Athletic's elusive $300,000 went, or if it was money raised at DeLay's behest in possible violation of federal law.

Abramoff, who knows the answers, is not talking.

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