DeLay Woes Prompt Rush to Refile Forms

"Ole man shredder, 'dat ole man shredder/
He don't say nothin' but 'Go and prove it,'/
'Dat ole man shredder/he keeps me here in my job."

Lawmakers Fear Ripples Over Ethics

By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 26, 2005; Page A01

Members of Congress are rushing to amend their travel and campaign records, fearing that the controversy over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will trigger an ethics war that will bring greater scrutiny to their own travel and official activities.

Some offices have sharply limited staff travel, and some members are not traveling at all because of the intense review they believe they will face in coming months.

Lawmakers are paying old restaurant bills, filing missing forms and correcting erroneous ones as journalists and political opponents comb through records and DeLay (R-Tex.) attempts to answer questions about travel financing and his past relationships with lobbyists.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) wrote to the Federal Election Commission on April 15 to report that he had discovered that the Washington restaurant Signatures had not charged his credit card -- as he said he had directed -- for a 2003 fundraiser for 16 people that cost $1,846. The event was hosted by Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist and part-owner of the restaurant who is now under congressional and criminal investigation for his handling of millions of dollars in fees from Indian tribes. Abramoff was not at the event.

--- Jack Abramoff? No charge for an $1,800 dinner? Oh my. Must be a coincidence. "I ordered them to cover it up ... ahh, umm ... to pay it immediately. Yeah, 'pay it immediately, that's the ticket.' "

'I never thought about this event again until it was brought to my attention very recently that no payment or reimbursement for the event has ever appeared on our FEC report,' Vitter wrote. He wrote to Signatures at the same time, directing the management to 'charge my credit card today.'"

"... he just keeps shredding along..."


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