Sunday, January 08, 2006

More corruption news

The LA Times reports today on a new corruption scandal brewing up involving 2 California congressmen, a Texas billionaire, and Texas congressman Tom Delay. Delay yesterday announced that he was not going to seek to return to a House leadership role and would support an election for a new majority speaker. Did he hear the footsteps of more scandals coming? Was he worried about Randy Cunningham wearing a wire? Do House Republicans really want to see Delay re-elected? Isn't he becoming a burden to the party like Gingrich was? Are we really supposed to believe that, just because he no longer has a title, Delay is no longer in a leadership position? From the article:
Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz, documents recently obtained by The Times show. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was seeking $300 million from Hurwitz for his role in the collapse of a Texas savings and loan that cost taxpayers $1.6 billion.

The investigation was ultimately dropped.

The effort to help Hurwitz began in 1999 when DeLay wrote a letter to the chairman of the FDIC denouncing the investigation of Hurwitz as a "form of harassment and deceit on the part of government employees." When the FDIC persisted, Doolittle and Pombo — both considered proteges of DeLay — used their power as members of the House Resources Committee to subpoena the agency's confidential records on the case, including details of the evidence FDIC investigators had compiled on Hurwitz.

Then, in 2001, the two congressmen inserted many of the sensitive documents into the Congressional Record, making them public and accessible to Hurwitz's lawyers, a move that FDIC officials said damaged the government's ability to pursue the banker.

The FDIC's chief spokesman characterized what Doolittle and Pombo did as "a seamy abuse of the legislative process." But soon afterward, in 2002, the FDIC dropped its case against Hurwitz, who had owned a controlling interest in the United Savings Assn. of Texas. United Savings' failure was one of the worst of the S&L debacles in the 1980s.
In other Delay-ed news (sorry!), The Houston Chronicle has a run down of part of the Delay - Abramoff connection. They also note that former Delay staffer, Tony Rudy, is cooperating with prosecutors.

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