Magazine article Newsweek

Capitol Hill: On DeLay's Trail-The E-Mail Factor

Magazine article Newsweek

Capitol Hill: On DeLay's Trail-The E-Mail Factor

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Isikoff

Federal prosecutors investigating the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal have obtained a road map to the workings of the Republican-controlled House: 1,000 internal e-mails from the office of Rep. Tom DeLay during his time as majority leader. The e-mails were turned over quietly by DeLay late last year as part of an unpublicized effort by the embattled Texas congressman to show he would cooperate with prosecutors. "We didn't hold anything back," says Richard Cullen, DeLay's lawyer, who tells NEWSWEEK the e-mails date to at least 1998 and involve all aspects of the probe. He says the e-mails weren't subpoenaed but were offered as a "Christmas present." Still, it's unclear if thee-mails will clear or help implicate DeLay.

Last week federal prosecutors had one of their biggest coups yet in the probe: a felony guilty plea by Tony Rudy, DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, for conspiring with Abramoff to provide House members and their staff with perks in exchange for legislative favors; Rudy, who left DeLay's office in December 2000 to work for Abramoff, will now cooperate with the Feds. Although court papers filed by prosecutors with the plea contain no direct allegations against DeLay, the documents for the first time refer to an unnamed "Representative No. 2" (who is DeLay) whose office repeatedly assisted Abramoff and his clients. The papers allege that Rudy, while still working for DeLay, arranged for the congressman to sign a letter opposing a postal-rate increase to aid an Abramoff client and helped kill an antigambling bill opposed by another Abramoff client. …

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