Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"Hot Tub and Champagne Campaigns" - DeLay Family Values

Thanks to Jeremy for reminding me of the hot tub propensities of Tom and his daughter.
DeLay Thanks Lobbyists With Vegas Trip - 02-04-21 - (

House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), legendary on Capitol Hill for his aggressive efforts to cultivate corporate interests, hit on a new way of rewarding his friends last weekend, flying more than 30 lobbyists to Las Vegas for a golf tournament and a round of partying....

The weekend included a late-night party Saturday in DeLay's suite at the Rio Hotel and Casino, which featured a living room, bar and hot tub on the balcony. DeLay was not present, aides said; the event was hosted by his daughter, Dani Ferro [age 27], the campaign manager for DeLay's reelection campaign. After the party, Ferro told associates that a lobbyist poured champagne on her while she was in the hot tub.
The Houston Press passed along a snippet:
the Capitol Hill weekly Roll Call broke the story last fall, quoting a witness as saying Ferro was "among the revelers" at a late-night party and "there were a lot of lobbyists in the hot tub, pouring champagne on each other." And no doubt discussing those sybaritic Democrats.
Of course, the daughter was just taking after her father who
"As a Texas state legislator from 1978 to 1984, DeLay had a reputation in Austin less as a lawmaker than as a partyer and playboy known as "Hot Tub Tom." DeLay was kicked out of Baylor in 1967 for his "extracurricular activities" and "too vigorous a social life." He roomed with other fun-loving male legislators at a condo they dubbed "Macho Manor." When DeLay first got to Congress, he says, "I would stay out all night drinking till the bars closed... I just did it, and then I got up sober and went to work."
Let's round this out with some specifics of how DeLay is using his power to direct money to his family. From The New York Times last April:
The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Mr. DeLay's home state, Texas.

Most of the payments to his wife, Christine A. DeLay, and his only child, Dani DeLay Ferro, were described in the disclosure forms as "fund-raising fees," "campaign management" or "payroll," with no additional details about how they earned the money. The payments appear to reflect what Mr. DeLay's aides say is the central role played by the majority leader's wife and daughter in his political career...

"It's DeLay Inc. " said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a research group that has closely monitored Mr. DeLay and his campaign fund-raising and expenditures. "If it's not illegal, it certainly is inappropriate for members of Congress to use their positions to enrich their families."

Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics and a former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission, said that "questions are raised anytime a politician puts close family members on the payroll."

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