And a Peak Into DeLay's Lavish Lifestyle

A major investigation by The Associated Press is a must read. It shows what Tom DeLay does with all that special interest money--over the past six years, he's spent more than $1 million on:

...48 visits to golf clubs and resorts with lush fairways; 100 flights aboard company planes; 200 stays at hotels, many world-class; and 500 meals at restaurants, some averaging nearly $200 for a dinner for two.

That money came from his campaign committees, political action committees, and the children's charity he set up.

Here's a taste of what he encountered at one posh resort on Palmas del Mar, an oceanside resort in Puerto Rico:

"He was very friendly. We always see the relaxed side of politicians," said Daniel Vassi, owner of the French bistro Chez Daniel at Palmas del Mar. Vassi said DeLay has eaten at his restaurant every year for the last three, and was last there in April with about 20 other people, including the resort's owners.

The restaurant is a cozy and popular place on the yacht-lined marina at Palmas del Mar. Dishes include bouillabaisse for about $35.50, Dover sole for $37.50 and filet mignon for $28.50. Palmas del Mar is also a DeLay donor, giving $5,000 to DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority PAC in 2000.

And here's what he encountered in Naples, FL, at the Ritz-Carlton, which offered:

"dazzling views of the Gulf of Mexico, warm golden sunsets and three miles of pristine beach" plus golf, a spa, goose-down comforters, marble bathrooms and private, ocean-view balconies. Rooms run from about $389 to more than $3,000 a
night in December, the month DeLay's PAC spent $4,570 on lodging there in
2004....

The villas have up to three bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms and French doors that open onto terraces or balconies facing the Caribbean. A moon-shape pool hugs the edge of a steep cliff, its waters spilling over and appearing to blend into the sea. Villa prices average about $1,300 a night.

Guests get their own butlers. The resort offers six swimming pools and an 18-hole championship golf course. Its casino served as the setting for the last scene in the James Bond movie "Goldfinger."

A true representative of the people, huh?