Jack Abramoff, the gift that keeps on giving.
A casino-rich tribe wrote checks for at least $55,000 to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political groups, but the donations were never publicly disclosed and the tribe was directed to divert the money to other groups that helped Republicans, tribal documents show.
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now under criminal investigation, told the Coushatta Indian tribe, a client, to cancel its checks to the DeLay groups in 2001 and 2002 and route the money to more obscure groups that helped Republicans on Medicare prescription drug legislation and Christian voter outreach.
DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority and Americans for a Republican Majority never reported receiving any checks from the Louisiana tribe to federal or state regulators, their reports show. The donations, however, are recorded in memos and ledgers kept by the tribe.
"Enclosed please find a check for $10,000 to the Texans for a Republican Majority. This check needs to be reissued to America 21," Abramoff wrote the Coushattas in a May 2002 letter obtained by the Associated Press.
America 21 is a Nashville, Tenn.-based Christian group focused on voter turnout that helped Republican candidates in the pivotal 2002 elections that kept DeLay's party in control of the House.
Several months earlier, the tribe was asked to cancel a $25,000 check to Americans for a Republican Majority and to send that money instead in August 2001 to a group called Sixty Plus that helped Republicans in their two-year effort to get a Medicare
prescription drug benefit through Congress.
Here are some questions:
Who received the original checks from the tribe? Was it Abramoff? If so, was he acting as an agent for the PACs? Were the checks sent to the PACs themselves? If so, how did they get to Abramoff?