Morning Report 10/1/05
Jesus H. Christ on Capitol Hill!
Understand, now, that I've just started pawing my way through Wampumgate, bead by bead, so I don't have the whole picture yet on this monumental scandal.
But I do know that it's so big that even Jesus Christ is involved. Looks as though like he was being used. Along with a whole lot of Native Americans.
A tremendous amount of hard work by reporters and NGOs is responsible for what we know so far about the dealings of Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay. A ton of material has been made public over the past few years.
But one of the key exposés was a February 22, 2004 story by Susan Schmidt of the Washington Post, revealing the Indian tribes' huge payments to Mike Scanlon, a DeLay aide who wound up working for Abramoff.
For a concise rundown of Abramoff's career, check out the blistering backgrounder by Texans for Public Justice that traces Abramoff's wheeling and dealings from his days as a shill for South Africa's apartheid regime to his exalted status as a "Pioneer" fundraiser for George W. Bush.
Those are just starting points. But you'll need them, because the two-pronged scandal shoots off in all directions. Abramoff and DeLay are two of the most connected influence peddlers D.C. has ever seen, so the gunk from this spill covers a lot of territory. And only now is the scandal reaching critical mass as far as the public is concerned.
That must have something to do with the ouster — however temporary it turns out to be — of arguably the most powerful person in Congress.
The fact that the newly indicted DeLay is really nothing more than a former bug exterminator from Sugar Land, Texas, says a lot about the confluence of Christ and cash in our government, whether or not he ever returns to power.
It helps — or it used to help — to have Abramoff as a pal. Jack and cohorts have funneled huge bucks to DeLay's war chest, and DeLay has even been golfing in Scotland on Abramoff's credit card.
As I first noted this past April, "Mrs. Tom DeLay" presented Christ at a tea for congressional staffers. That's the way the Center for Christian Statesmanship (CCS) put it in May 2003. This is the group run by Florida televangelist D. James Kennedy that honored Mr. Tom DeLay as its Distinguished Christian Statesman of 2002. John Ashcroft was an earlier honoree, as I wrote about in April 2001.
What's already a critical mass is the evangelizing on Capitol Hill. As the CCS described it:
- Tea, finger sandwiches, cookies, and attentive young women — many non-believers — filled a cozy room in the Capitol Building where Mrs. DeLay explained why she has made Christ the center of her life.
Well, it's no surprise that "non-believers" attended. The believers couldn't get in without bringing them along, as CCS proudly noted:
- These intimate gatherings are constructed to encourage Christian women in fellowship and give them a platform for evangelism, as each believer is required to invite at least one non-believing friend. Similar congressional coffees are held for male staffers. Like most other Center-sponsored events, congressional teas allow staffers to see God at work in the demanding schedules of national leaders.
National leaders like Mrs. Tom DeLay's husband. The missus was a "candid witness," the CCS noted. Too bad she probably won't ever be a candid witness against her husband. But she had some good advice back then for us heathens:
- "It’s all about a personal relationship with Jesus. If I have any word of advice it’s this: It is much easier to live life with God than without Him."
And it's much easier to live life without Tom DeLay as House majority leader, because it will be harder for the Bush regime to push through any more cockamamie schemes. Enjoy it while it lasts.