May 18, 2004

Accounting Errors

These guys get so sloppy about carrying the ones when they’re funneling around dirty money:

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A Senate committee investigating millions of dollars in fees paid to powerful Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations executive Michael Scanlon also plans to examine $500,000 in contributions from Scanlon’s firm to the Republican Governors Association.

The money was paid by Scanlon’s firm, Capitol Campaign Strategies, to the RGA in the closing months of the 2002 election. But it was not disclosed until the association filed “amended” financial reports on April 27 of this year.

RGA officials said the failure to report the donation and thousands of dollars of other contributions was an accounting error. The two contributions to Capitol Campaign Strategies, which totaled $500,000, were the single largest contributions that went unreported.

The money was received at a time when the RGA changed its legal status from an arm of the Republican National Committee to an independent organization free to receive large “soft money” contributions from corporations, unions and others.

Scanlon, a former aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), and Abramoff, a top Republican lobbyist and adviser to DeLay, are both under investigation by the Senate Commerce Committee. The panel, under the direction of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), is seeking to determine the legality of $45 million paid by Indian tribes to the pair for lobbying and public affairs work.
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Now this is a complicated one, and DeLay is not yet directly implicated, but this kind of money ($45 million or so) doesn’t get thrown around in GOP circles without DeLay knowing something about it, and as the story notes, both are close DeLay cronies.  The question is, what could $45 million get you, and who besides the GOP Leader would be in a position to grant it?  More background in our DeLay investigation page.


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