Cheers to The Independent for being the first local paper to look into the Charles Boustany Jr.-Tom Delay money trail ("Passing the Bucks," Jan. 4). Until now, the local press has conspicuously avoided this story, and The Independent should be commended for dealing with an important issue that is of local ' not to mention national ' interest.

Boustany Press Secretary Amy Jones' preposterous claim that this is "an old story" is just plain pitiful. Jones is not Luke Skywalker, and the people of Acadiana are not sub-literate space goons, mesmerized by her feeble rhetorical tap dance. Anyone with a TV, radio or real daily newspaper knows that Delay's troubles are just beginning. Just crank up the old Internet and you will see that a number of principled House Republicans are calling for new leadership in the wake of crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff's guilty plea.

From what I can tell, the waste matter is about to collide with the oscillating mechanism on the ceiling. Then again, maybe I'm just an old fashioned American who believes that ' despite one's pretensions to English nobility ' politicians are meant to serve their constituents and the democratic ideals this country is founded on. Maybe its time Boustany stop flying around Iraq, return the neat plastic wings the helicopter pilot gave him, and start living up to the principles he campaigned on.

Five days after The Independent's story ran (and after we went to press with last week's issue), Rep. Boustany changed course and announced he was donating $38,000 in Abramoff-related campaign contributions to hurricane relief. The money will be evenly divided between the Vermilion Parish School Board Hurricane Relief Fund, the Cameron Parish Policy Jury for mosquito control and the United Way of Southwest Louisiana. ' Ed.

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