Paul Kane of Roll Call (subscription req'd) writes up something that has been on my mind all weekend: Just how long did these illegal activities go on while these staffers were in Tom DeLay's office paid for by our tax dollars? As one reader emailed, will the "Sargeant Schultz defense" -- "I saw nothing!" -- work for Tom DeLay? Not very credible, particularly with Ed Buckham's plea coming next, and with all the fundraising lines in and out of DeLay's committees.
Roll Call's piece focuses on the timeline. They report that the probe is now covering a much longer time period. Rudy pled guilty to conspiracy charges from January 1997 to the end of 2004. That means for four years -- 1997 through 2000 -- Rudy was committed crimes while he was on Tom DeLay's staff. And that means the criminal activity continued while at Abramoff's firm -- 2001 and 2002 -- and after he moved to Buckham's firm Alexander Strategy Group -- through 2004.
DeLay's lawyer Richard Cullen claims that the lawmaker's office has turned over hundreds of emails (up from dozens claimed last week?) which contain information about Abramoff. But what about emails (and other evidence) related to Rudy and Buckham? And what about emails (and other evidence) from other places, like ARMPAC, TRMPAC, and the consultants hired by DeLay and his committtee, like his daughter Dani, since she was involved in fundraising? Have these entities been cooperating? We all know that DeLay's web is widespread and intricate.
Another thing to watch, as deals are negotiated with prosecutors:
Rudy and Buckham have previously been using the same lawyer, Laura Ariane Miller, who accompanied Rudy to the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse a few blocks from the Capitol Friday. She didn’t return phone calls Friday requesting comment regarding Rudy and Buckham.