The Bugman is gonna get whacked

Just yesterday, Tom DeLay was blaming his staff for being crime-buddies with Jack Abramoff.

But what a difference a day makes! The NYT reports that there is e-mail evidence that the Bugman himself had was a criminal accomplice to Abramoff.

Representative Tom DeLay asked the lobbyist Jack Abramoff to raise money for him through a private charity controlled by Mr. Abramoff, an unusual request that led the lobbyist to try to gather at least $150,000 from his Indian tribe clients and their gambling operations, according to newly disclosed e-mail from the lobbyist's files.
The electronic messages from 2002, which refer to "Tom" and "Tom's requests," appear to be the clearest evidence to date of an effort by Mr. DeLay, a Texas Republican, to pressure Mr. Abramoff and his lobbying partners to raise money for him. The e-mail messages do not specify why Mr. DeLay wanted the money, how it was to be used or why he would want money raised through the auspices of a private charity.

I can't IMAGINE what DeLay would want $150,000 for!? Um, off the top of my head, I'd say to funnel it illegally to local Texas campaigns. Abramoff then talks about the "private charity" they'll use to launder the money:

"Did you get the message from the guys that Tom wants us to raise some bucks from Capital Athletic Foundation?" Mr. Abramoff asked a colleague in a message on June 6, 2002, referring to the charity. "I have six clients in for $25K. I recommend we hit everyone who cares about Tom's requests. I have another few to hit still."

The e-mail was addressed to Tony Rudy, who had been Mr. DeLay's chief of staff in the House before joining Mr. Abramoff's lobbying firm. Mr. Abramoff said it would be good "if we can do $200K" for Mr. DeLay.

What is Capital Athletic Foundation? You'd think they'd be a capital-based group devoted in some way to athletics, right? Um...wrong:

Mr. Abramoff's private charity, the Capital Athletic Foundation, has come under scrutiny by Senate investigators since the foundation was used to underwrite overseas travel by members of Congress and senior government officials, as well as a Jewish day school that Mr. Abramoff had established and paramilitary training for kibbutz residents in Israel. Mr. Abramoff's e-mail messages describe the training program as a "sniper school."

The e-mails read like script pages out of The Sopranos, with references to "our friends" and code names like "Leadership." If so many people weren't being screwed and de facto killed as a result of Smilin' Tom's "leadership," it'd almost be funny. Well, it still is kind of funny. You just have to read it:

In a chain of often cryptic e-mail messages that began on June 6, 2002, Mr. Abramoff communicated with members of his lobbying firm and his clients about Mr. DeLay's request that large amounts of money be raised through the foundation."Hi Tony," Mr. Abramoff wrote to Mr. Rudy, asking that he help in the fund-raising effort and describing the Capital Athletic Foundation as "a tax deductible foundation" that does "NO lobbying at all."

Good thinking, Jack! Cover your ass!

Later that day, Mr. Abramoff wrote to Mr. Rudy again, asking him to pass on the request for a donation to one of the firm's major Indian tribe clients, the Saginaw Chippewas of Michigan. He wrote that the request would "look better coming from you as a former DeLay COS - we're gonna make a bundle here."

Hey, Jack -- your ass is starting to show. And so is Tom's. And his is pretty pasty.

On June 20, Mr. Rudy wrote to Todd Boulanger, a different colleague at the lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig, asking about the status of a $25,000 contribution to the Capital Athletic Foundation."Jack wants this," Mr. Rudy wrote, referring to Mr. Abramoff. "It is something our friends are raising money for." The e-mail did not identify the friends.

Right, this email didn't identify the friends. But the one before used the name DeLay.

Mr. Boulanger replied the same day: "I'm sensing shadiness. I'll stop asking. I'll break it up over the various request to a total of $25K."Mr. Rudy replied: "Your senses are good. If you have to say Leadership is asking, please do. I already have." Mr. Rudy did not return phone calls Thursday, so it was not possible to determine if "Leadership" referred to Mr. DeLay.

Leadership is either DeLay, Bill Frist, or a new Marvel Comics hero.

In e-mail on July 8, 2002, to the lobbyist for a Texas Indian tribe, Mr. Abramoff asked about the status of the tribe's contribution to the foundation for Mr. DeLay: "I am getting daily calls on this. When they return tomorrow, I have no doubt, Tom himself is going to call." Mr. Abramoff appeared to be referring to Mr. DeLay's return to Washington after the Fourth of July holiday.

There it is! DeLay's ass in full moon, right alongside Abramoff's.