U.S. Family Network Benefits DeLay and Buckham Families

by TChris

The Washington Post tells us that U.S. Family Network, a nonprofit "created to promote a pro-family political agenda in Congress," has instead promoted the financial interests of Edwin and Wendy Buckham, who pocketed more than a third of the organization's receipts. Edwin Buckham helped found the organization while he was working as Tom DeLay's chief of staff. Is anyone surprised that Jack Abramoff plays a key role in the story?

The group's revenue was drawn mostly from clients of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to its records. From an FBI subpoena for the records, it can be inferred that the bureau is exploring whether there were links between the payments and favorable legislative treatment of Abramoff's clients by DeLay's office. ... The group appears to have served mostly as a vehicle for funneling corporate funds to DeLay's advisers and financing ads that attacked Democrats.

Edwin and Wendy paid more than $3,000 a month to DeLay's wife over a three year period. Abramoff's clients understood that pleasing the Buckhams would please DeLay.

Abramoff, for his part, once boasted that he had invested a million dollars in Buckham, according to a former Abramoff colleague who said he witnessed the conversation. Abramoff expressed confidence that the funds would bring a good return for his clients, the colleague said.

Edwin Buckham controlled access to DeLay.

Even though Buckham left DeLay's staff at the end of 1997, he still coordinated much of the congressional office's work and ran DeLay's principal fundraising committee from a building bought with USFN money, according to three former DeLay staff members who said they had firsthand knowledge of his role then. "If an individual called DeLay's appointments secretary saying they wanted to talk to DeLay about overregulation, the appointment secretary would say go speak to Buckham," one former aide said.

Abramoff's clients had reason to be happy with the results of their investment in U.S. Family Network.

DeLay supported the interests of many USFN donors on Capitol Hill, including an Indian tribe seeking to keep a tax exemption for gambling revenue and wealthy Russians seeking a favorable vote on Russian aid legislation.

The Post fleshes out this incredible story with a wealth of detail. TalkLeft background on Buckham is here

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