"Everybody is lying," Abramoff told a former colleague. There are e-mails and records that will implicate others, he said. He was noticeably caustic about House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. For years, nobody on Washington's K Street corridor was closer to DeLay than Abramoff. They were an unlikely duo. DeLay, a conservative Christian, and Abramoff, an Orthodox Jew, traveled the world together and golfed the finest courses. Abramoff raised hundreds of thousands for DeLay's political causes and hired DeLay's aides, or kicked them business, when they left his employ. But now DeLay, too, has problems—in part because of overseas trips allegedly paid for by Abramoff's clients. In response, DeLay and his aides have said repeatedly they were unaware of Abramoff's behind-the-scenes financing role. "Those S.O.B.s," Abramoff said last week about DeLay and his staffers, according to his luncheon companion. "DeLay knew everything. He knew all the details."
And regarding the Russian trip financed by shady sources:
Aides to DeLay insist he was in the dark about the Russian money behind the trip. But one conservative think-tank analyst, Michael Waller, was aggressively trying to warn congressional staffers about the Naftasib connection. Even after the trip, he continued to press them. The excursion was "bankrolled by influence peddlers tied to [the then] Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin," Waller wrote in a bulletin faxed and e-mailed to congressional staffers shortly after the trip.
DeLay's spokesman, Dan Allen, said Naftasib's business interests were irrelevant to DeLay. "The main purpose of the trip was to talk about religious persecution," he said. But DeLay's many political enemies in Washington aren't likely to buy that explanation. And the one man who may know best so far isn't talking, except to those he invites to his restaurant for lunch.
Thanks to Daily DeLay reader TM for the tip.