''Alaska Republicans have benefited from the Tom DeLay machine, and they all should answer whether or not they will continue to benefit from his dirty donations to their campaign funds.'' That's the breast-beating pronouncement Monday from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
What could possibly have the DCCC so upset?
That's the amount of the contribution that Rep. Don Young, Alaska's member of the U.S. House of Representatives, accepted from a political action committee set up by Rep. Tom DeLay, who stepped aside he says temporarily as House majority leader following his indictment last week by a Texas grand jury. The indictment charges the former majority leader with conspiring with two others to support Texas legislative candidates by having a Texas PAC, founded by Rep. DeLay, route corporate donations to the Republican National Committee, which the indictment claims would then send the money to Texas candidates. Under Texas law, PACs can only use corporate money to pay administrative expenses; the indictment claims Rep. DeLay and the others were circumventing that law.
How does this tie in with Alaska's Don Young? That's just it: It doesn't, except as nothing short of an effort by Democrats to tar anyone and everyone with the DeLay case.
The $1,592 that the Democrats are having such a fit about with Rep. Young was actually a non-monetary contribution that came from a political action committee Americans for a Republican Majority that is not involved at all in the case against Rep. DeLay. But Americans for a Republican Majority was indeed established by Rep. DeLay, and that's enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which issued a news release on Sept. 29 under the headline ''Will Alaska Republican Join Fellow Republican Congressman in Returning DeLay Money?'' It issued an updated release on Monday when two other GOP members of Congress said they would return money.
The news releases don't carry the quote from the first congressman to return the money, however. Rep. Jeb Bradley of New Hampshire clearly noted and Democrats clearly ignored that ''ARMPAC, which has contributed to my campaign, is not under investigation.''
So let's get this right. Members of Congress are supposed to return contributions received legally from a legitimate political committee just because that committee was founded by someone who has been indicted for actions involving another, unrelated, committee? How on earth does that make sense?
Oh, and one other thing. That $1,592: Americans for a Republican Majority gave all but $20 of it to Rep. Young way back in the 1996 election cycle. And that other $20 came in the prior cycle, for the 1994 election. Now, if Alaska's congressman can be bought for 20 bucks in cash or other stuff, that would be the real problem we should worry about.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
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