Wednesday News Round-up

What’s His Credit Card Limit Anyway??

New information in today’s New York Times shows that Jack Abramoff did indeed pay for trips to the Northern Mariana Islands for Tom DeLay, as well as two Democratic Congressmen and two DeLay aides. Abramoff paid for the trips, then asked the government of the Marianas to send him reimbursement checks. However, write Kate Zernike and Philip Shenon, House travel rules prohibit lobbyists from paying for Congressional travel at all, even if the cost is reimbursed by an authorized group or government agency.

Like another of DeLay’s Abramoff-funded jaunts, Abramoff used his personal credit card to pay for the travel, which is a blatant violation of House rules, according to ethics lawyers, and Abramoff’s former law firm.

DeLay’s spokesman Dan Allen said there was no need to complete a travel disclosure form for the Marianas trip because the islands are an American territory. He said he “did not know the exact payment details” of DeLay’s travel.

How convenient.

Hitting Close to Home.

Democracy for America has put up billboards in DeLay’s district to remind his constituents that “Lobbyists sent Tom DeLay golfing; all you got was this billboard." According to Matt Stiles at the Houston Chronicle, the billboards were erected south of downtown Houston and will remain there for a month.

Jumping to DeLay’s defense, Chris Stevens, chair of the Glaveston County Republican Party said:

"Who cares? He went golfing."

I think you’re missing the point here, Chris.

Not just a “Washington” problem…

Members of Congress who have cozied up to Tom DeLay might be looking over their shoulders in the 2006 elections. Lisa Vorderbrueggen at the Contra Costa Times writes that Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) was named as one of three dozen or so members of Congress who payroll family members on their campaigns. He’s also been linked to Tom DeLay through donations he received from “a tribal lobbyist currently under investigation.”