#43... Oct 24,
P. 9, AMERICAN
FREE PRESS * October 24, 2005...
Behind the Scenes
with Michael Collins Piper
New GOP House Leader Has Far from Stellar
Record — Yet Loves to Point Finger at Others
By Michael Collins Piper
Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was a frontline leader of the
lynch mob that expelled former Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) from
Congress in 2002 after the outspoken populist was convicted on what
were clearly trumped-up corruption charges. Now DeLay himself has
been indicted by a Texas grand jury on ethics violations and has
been forced to step down as the Republican leader in the House.
Ironically, however, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) — DeLay’s
newly elected replacement as the GOP leader in the House —
has his own record of rather questionable ethics, a record which
is all the more open to scrutiny since Blunt was outspoken in the
successful campaign to expel Traficant from Congress, rising up
on the House floor and giving an emotional (even hysterical) speech
The fact is that Blunt is a “special interest” congressman
in more ways than one. At the time Blunt was pushing an amendment
to an Iraq war spending bill that would benefit the United Parcel
Service, Blunt’s son was a UPS lobbyist in Jefferson City,
the capital of Missouri, where the congressman’s other son
is the governor.
Later Blunt was found to be trying to put in a last-minute provision
into the legislation establishing the Department of Homeland Security
that would benefit tobacco giant Philip Morris USA at the time that
the divorced Blunt was involved in a personal relationship with
Abigail Perlman, a Philip Morris lobbyist who is now married to
Blunt’s family members insist that they have not lobbied the
congressman on the issue, but the ugly smell of sordid special interest
politicking — and personal family benefit — prevails.
Although Blunt has not engaged in the kind of heavy-duty foreign
junketing that his predecessor, DeLay, has been known for, The
St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on April 25, 2005,
that “the most expensive privately paid trip Blunt has taken
is to Israel, a journey he has made several times with freshman
lawmakers. In 2001, the trip cost about $5,500, with Blunt’s
expenses paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, an
affiliate of a powerful pro-Israel lobby group.”
The apparent — at least temporary — demise of DeLay
and the elevation of Blunt also play into the ambitions of a rising
House Republican star, Rep. Eric Cantor (RVa.), who is a deputy
whip in the Republican caucus and outspoken supporter of Israel
who has often been mentioned by the media as one who may ultimately
first Jewish speaker of the House of Representatives.”
Should Blunt continue to face scrutiny for his antics, Cantor’s
fast track toward the top spot might well escalate.
In that regard, some Blunt admirers questioned, earlier this year,
why Cantor’s congressional campaign web site featured the
aforementioned St. Louis Post-Dispatch news article, which raised
questions about Blunt’s own ethics problems.
Although the article featured praise for Blunt by Cantor, some GOP
loyalists felt it inappropriate that Cantor should have promoted
the article on the Internet when it was focusing on negative details
about his House colleague and their embattled associate DeLay.
#43.... October 24, 2005.