That includes his political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, which is commonly referred to as ARMPAC. The high-voltage federal fund has doled out more than $3.5 million to GOP candidates since 1994. Louisiana's Republican congressmen have received $60,034 alone, and at the top of list is Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., who has collected about $25,000 since he entered the political fray in 2004.
ARMPAC lost some of its luster last year when Executive Director Jim Ellis, as well as other DeLay aides, were indicted by a grand jury for money laundering ' a first-degree felony. ARMPAC as an entity, however, has not been charged with any wrongdoing. It's DeLay's state PAC ' "Texans for a Republican Majority" ' that has landed the politico in hot water. DeLay was indicted in September for allegedly using the Texas PAC to funnel corporate money to several legislative candidates in the Lone Star State.
Still, recipients of money from ARMPAC are getting pummeled by special interests to return their contributions to DeLay. When asked what Lafayette Rep. Boustany would do, his press secretary Amy Jones questions the timing of the query.
"This is an old issue," she says, and adds that Boustany has no plans to return the money.
As far back as fall 2004, political groups like the Louisiana Democratic Party were asking GOP candidates to recoil from the DeLay money. For some, it became a major election issue in their last campaign. But special interests are finding ways to breathe new life into the issue, with hurricane survivors at the forefront.
For instance, the Campaign for America's Future recently launched a public appeal asking lawmakers to donate the equivalent of whatever DeLay granted them to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, a charitable pool organized by the former U.S. presidents. Campaign for America's Future bills itself as a progressive think tank, and has a "rogues gallery" of politicians on its Web site that includes Democratic Rep. John Tanner of Tennessee and Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio.
Ellen Miller, deputy director of Campaign for America's Future, says her group's call to action is more relevant than ever with the formation of the hurricane fund. "Washington is engulfed in corruption," she says. "It's time for members of Congress to stand with the people and show that, in this time of great national need, the charity chests are more important than political war chests."
Even before the campaign was launched, Rep. Kenny Hulshof of Missouri cleared the way for such thinking by donating his $15,000 DeLay contribution to the Bush-Clinton fund. His spokesman later said the congressman wanted to "disassociate" himself from the situation. Rep. Steven LaTourette of Ohio soon followed pace, and two more lawmakers ' Reps. Jeb Bradley of New Hampshire and Heather Wilson of New Mexico ' are playing catch-up, vowing to return the money but not yet announcing their intentions, according to published reports.
DeLay hasn't been convicted of anything, but perception is weighing him down. His reputation took another hit recently with an Associated Press report that Delay's various organizations have spent more than $1 million on top-of-the-line luxury accommodations and lavish meals during political fundraising trips.
For now, Boustany appears unwilling to break party ranks and is rolling the dice in hopes that Delay will be acquitted of campaign finance violations. But Boustany spokeswoman Jones says it's not out of the question that Congressman Boustany would eventually rid himself of the $25,000 in DeLay contributions.
"If at any point there would be an indictment that showed a violation of federal campaign law with ARMPAC, then we would certainly donate the money," Jones says. "But we would end up trying to find something local inside the district to give the money to."
Contact Jeremy Alford through his Web site at www.jeremyalford.com.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.