Tony C. Rudy, a former deputy chief of staff to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), pleaded guilty yesterday to charges that he conspired with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to corrupt public officials and defraud his clients, as a burgeoning corruption probe took one step closer to members of Congress.It has not been proven that DeLay knew anything or participated in anything illegal. However, if you're an influential congressman and it is discovered that most of your closest aides and business associates are all shamelessly corrupt, what does that say about your judge of character?
Rudy's plea follows guilty pleas from DeLay's former press secretary, Michael Scanlon, and from Abramoff himself. But, for the first time, an actor in the scandal has admitted to committing illegal acts while working in the Republican leadership suites of the House.
Rudy, 39, agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department investigation, which sources have said is scrutinizing the actions of half a dozen members of Congress, as well as of Capitol Hill staffers, other officials and Abramoff's business associates. The court papers for the first time formally refer to DeLay as one of those involved in the activities under scrutiny, listing him as "Representative #2." But though the papers show that Rudy traded on DeLay's name, they do not indicate that Rudy has evidence to implicate his former boss.
Rudy's statement admits to a far-reaching criminal enterprise operating out of DeLay's office, an enterprise that helped sway legislation, influence public policy and enrich its main players.
The documents also implicate a "Lobbyist B," which lawyers familiar with the case say is Edwin A. Buckham, DeLay's former chief of staff, who has been perhaps the congressman's closest aide and spiritual adviser.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
zoe kentucky | Saturday, April 01, 2006 |