FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Company He Keeps

They’re just a bunch of nails and nails, as is well known, do Hammer’s bidding. And that explains why during the week of November 14, there were two things that happened that were wonderful for Mr. DeLay and only one bad thing. That made it a really good week.

The first good thing was that his trucklers in the House of Representatives inoculated him against any bad results were he to face criminal charges in the future. (Three of his close Texas associates have been indicted on charges ranging from money-laundering to soliciting and receiving illegal corporate contributions. The district attorney who brought the indictments is continuing his investigation and it is not yet known whether the trail of criminal conduct will eventually lead to Mr. DeLay.)

In order to avoid any adverse political effect on Mr. DeLay were he to be indicted, those who serve him in the House voted to get rid of the House Rule that demanded that members holding leadership be purer than Caesar’s wife. The revoked rule provided that a member of the leadership who was indicted had to temporarily step aside. Under the new rule an indicted leader may continue to serve and a party steering committee then decides if the criminal charges are of sufficient gravity to warrant the indicted leader’s removal from his leadership post. As Representative Henry Bonilla, one of Mr. DeLay’s sycophants put it:”Attorneys tell me you can be indicted for just about anything in this country, in any county or community. Sometimes district attorneys . . . could make a name for themselves by indicting a member of the leadership, regardless of who it may be, and therefore determine their future. And that’s not right.”

Being vaccinated against the untoward effects of suggestions he might face criminal charges was not Mr. DeLay’s only bit of good news. Equally serendipitous was the House Ethics Panel’s rebuke of Representative Chris Bell. It was Mr. Bell’s complaint against Mr. DeLay that prompted the Ethics Panel to admonish Mr. DeLay in September and October. Having acknowledged the validity of some of Mr. Bell’s complaints, the committee nonetheless found that making his complaint, Mr. Bell had engaged in exaggeration and innuendo. Ignoring the reproofs he had received, Mr. DeLay said that his accuser was nothing more than a “partisan stalker” and took the committee’s rebuke of Mr. Bell as vindication. Only one bad thing happened that week and it didn’t affect Mr. DeLay-it simply reflected on him. In the middle of the week it was disclosed that another of his close aides may be a crook of some distinction. During that week Michael Scanlon, while testifying before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, took the fifth amendment seven times.

Mr. Scanlon served as Mr. DeLay’s chief of staff and press spokesman from approximately 1997 until 2000 when he struck out on his own to make money as a publicist and, perhaps, a crook. What is alleged is that he and Jack Abramoff, a major contributor to the Bush Cheney campaign and Tom DeLay paid Ralph Reed, leader of the Christian Coalition, $4.2 million between 2001 and 2003 for him to build religious sentiment against Indian casinos operated in competition with Indian casinos represented by the two men. Speaking Rock Casino operated by the Tigua Tribe in Texas was one of the rivals. In an e mail to Mr. Abramoff Mr. Reed said he had been successful in getting “our pastors” mobilized against the Tigua’s casino. In 2002 it was shut down. Thereafter Messrs. Abramoff and Scanlon were paid $4.2 million by the Tigua tribe to correct what Abramoff told them was the “gross indignity perpetuated by the Texas state authorities.” According to testimony before the Senate committee, the two men promised the tribe that they could get language inserted into a pending Congressional bill that would allow the casino to reopen. It never happened.

Mr. Scanlon was last in the news while serving on Mr. DeLay’s staff. Commenting on the upcoming impeachment trial of President Clinton, Mr. Scanlon and another staffer exchanged e mails. One of the e mails, reportedly written by Mr. Scanlon said: “This whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is BS. Not only do you kick him-you kick him until he passes out-then beat him over the head with a baseball bat-then roll him up in an old rug-and throw him off a cliff into the pounding surf below.” It is not unlikely that having heard Mr. Scanlon take the 5th after bilking them of millions, there are a lot of Indians who hope that the justice system does just that to Mr. DeLay’s former aide. Who can blame them? Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

A man hey’re just a bunch of nails and nails, as is well known, do Hammer’s bidding. And that explains why during the week of November 14, there were two things that happened that were wonderful for Mr. DeLay and only one bad thing. That made it a really good week.

The first good thing was that his trucklers in the House of Representatives inoculated him against any bad results were he to face criminal charges in the future. (Three of his close Texas associates have been indicted on charges ranging from money-laundering to soliciting and receiving illegal corporate contributions. The district attorney who brought the indictments is continuing his investigation and it is not yet known whether the trail of criminal conduct will eventually lead to Mr. DeLay.)

In order to avoid any adverse political effect on Mr. DeLay were he to be indicted, those who serve him in the House voted to get rid of the House Rule that demanded that members holding leadership be purer than Caesar’s wife. The revoked rule provided that a member of the leadership who was indicted had to temporarily step aside. Under the new rule an indicted leader may continue to serve and a party steering committee then decides if the criminal charges are of sufficient gravity to warrant the indicted leader’s removal from his leadership post. As Representative Henry Bonilla, one of Mr. DeLay’s sycophants put it:”Attorneys tell me you can be indicted for just about anything in this country, in any county or community. Sometimes district attorneys . . . could make a name for themselves by indicting a member of the leadership, regardless of who it may be, and therefore determine their future. And that’s not right.”

Being vaccinated against the untoward effects of suggestions he might face criminal charges was not Mr. DeLay’s only bit of good news. Equally serendipitous was the House Ethics Panel’s rebuke of Representative Chris Bell. It was Mr. Bell’s complaint against Mr. DeLay that prompted the Ethics Panel to admonish Mr. DeLay in September and October. Having acknowledged the validity of some of Mr. Bell’s complaints, the committee nonetheless found that making his complaint, Mr. Bell had engaged in exaggeration and innuendo. Ignoring the reproofs he had received, Mr. DeLay said that his accuser was nothing more than a “partisan stalker” and took the committee’s rebuke of Mr. Bell as vindication. Only one bad thing happened that week and it didn’t affect Mr. DeLay-it simply reflected on him. In the middle of the week it was disclosed that another of his close aides may be a crook of some distinction. During that week Michael Scanlon, while testifying before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, took the fifth amendment seven times.

Mr. Scanlon served as Mr. DeLay’s chief of staff and press spokesman from approximately 1997 until 2000 when he struck out on his own to make money as a publicist and, perhaps, a crook. What is alleged is that he and Jack Abramoff, a major contributor to the Bush Cheney campaign and Tom DeLay paid Ralph Reed, leader of the Christian Coalition, $4.2 million between 2001 and 2003 for him to build religious sentiment against Indian casinos operated in competition with Indian casinos represented by the two men. Speaking Rock Casino operated by the Tigua Tribe in Texas was one of the rivals. In an e mail to Mr. Abramoff Mr. Reed said he had been successful in getting “our pastors” mobilized against the Tigua’s casino. In 2002 it was shut down. Thereafter Messrs. Abramoff and Scanlon were paid $4.2 million by the Tigua tribe to correct what Abramoff told them was the “gross indignity perpetuated by the Texas state authorities.” According to testimony before the Senate committee, the two men promised the tribe that they could get language inserted into a pending Congressional bill that would allow the casino to reopen. It never happened.

Mr. Scanlon was last in the news while serving on Mr. DeLay’s staff. Commenting on the upcoming impeachment trial of President Clinton, Mr. Scanlon and another staffer exchanged e mails. One of the e mails, reportedly written by Mr. Scanlon said: “This whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is BS. Not only do you kick him-you kick him until he passes out-then beat him over the head with a baseball bat-then roll him up in an old rug-and throw him off a cliff into the pounding surf below.” It is not unlikely that having heard Mr. Scanlon take the 5th after bilking them of millions, there are a lot of Indians who hope that the justice system does just that to Mr. DeLay’s former aide. Who can blame them?

Christopher Brauchli is a Boulder, Colorado lawyer. His column appears weekly in the Daily Camera. He can be reached at: brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu

 

More articles by:

January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail