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.
Coton de tulear joins Westminster; Paypal splitting from Ebay; first US Ebola diagnosis and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
There was a time when United Ballot had a political stranglehold so tight on Lafayette’s black community it was nearly unbreakable, but that grip might be loosening.
The race for Lafayette city marshal may not be the most exciting of this year’s local political contests, but it could prove the most historic.
With the DA’s race too close to call and negative media coverage of Mike Harson on the ebb, will challenger Keith Stutes take the gloves off?
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sued Abbeville's mayor and police chief over a policy barring police from any social media use showing the city in a bad light.
Prospective Republican presidential candidates are expected to promote "religious liberty" at home and abroad at a gathering of religious conservatives Friday, with anti-Obama speeches from the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.