Tom DeLay and Kids, Part II: Fundraising

Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 09:36 AM

Since posting the piece about Tom DeLay's support of the House budget Reconciliation bill being contradictory to his professed concern for abused and neglected kids, someone told me offline that I was being unfair to him.  The reason?  I didn't mention a report by Truthout that Mr. DeLay and his wife have "helped raise three foster kids themselves."  Point taken.  That should be known.

However, my original post also didn't get into other thing, like the fact that Mr. DeLay seems to use his two foundations "devoted" to helping kids to...well, to help Tom DeLay in his never-ending efforts to raise money.  And more money.  Did I mention it's about money?

The very same Truthout piece that reported the DeLay's efforts in raising three foster kids also reveals that:

"tax records show that DeLay's foundations have spent far more on golf fundraisers than on programs for children. (There are two foundations: The DeLay Foundation for Kids is one; it raises money for a second foundation, Rio Bend, a housing development under construction for foster children.) Over the past four fiscal years, DeLay's foundations have spent almost $600,000 on golf fundraisers at exotic retreats. That is more than seven times what DeLay has so far handed out to unrelated organizations that are actively helping kids, according to tax returns through the most recent filings of June 2004. Golf retreats are the only fundraising activity apparent on the foundations' tax returns."

And SourceWatch has a lengthy piece on DeLay and his kids' foundations, including the info that:

--The DeLay Foundation for Kids operates out of a post office box near DeLay's home in Texas, and has consistently declined to identify its donors, citing their desire for privacy (it isn't required by law to identify them)

--Other tax and online records revealed that the donors include ExxonMobil, Southern Company, and SBC

--Whatever its charitable purpose, advocacy groups say the Foundation is also an important fundraising operation for the politician, and allows corporate lobbyists and executives--from Jack Abramoff to the private prison company Corporation of America (CCA) to curry favor with DeLay in a way that skirts campaign finance laws

--In April, 2003, DeLay raised $1.1 million from lobbyists and lawmakers at a golf tournament in Florida for The Delay Foundation for Kids, only thre months after engineering a change in House rules that had formerly prohibited lawmakers from accepting free trips and lodging in connection with charity events

All of which leads Arianna Huffington to conclude that "The personal charity fundraising scheme is as cynical as it is corrupt."