A “charity” with close ties to Rep. Tom DeLay was funded largely
by corporations associated with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the
Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing tax records and quoting
former associates of the group.
Tax records, other documents and
interviews bring into question the purpose of the U.S. Family Network,
which functioned mostly by collecting funds from domestic and foreign
businesses whose interests coincided with DeLay’s activities while he
was serving as House majority whip from 1995 to 2002, and as majority
leader from 2002 until the end of September, the paper wrote.
its five-year existence, the U.S. Family Network raised $2.5 million,
but kept its donor list secret, the paper reported. That list, obtained
by the Washington Post, showed that $1 million of its revenue came in a
single 1998 check from a now-defunct London law firm whose former
partners did not identify the money’s origins.
According to the
paper, two former associates of Edwin Buckham, the Texas Republican
Delay’s former chief of staff and organizer of the U.S. Family Network,
said Buckham told them the funds came from Russian oil and gas
executives. Abramoff had been working closely with two such Russian
energy executives on their Washington agenda.
A spokesman for
DeLay, who is fighting in a Texas state court unrelated charges of
illegal fundraising, denied that the contributions influenced the
former House majority leader’s political activities, the paper wrote.
energy executives who worked with Abramoff denied knowing anything
about the million-dollar London transaction described in tax documents,
according to the Washington Post.