DeLay & The Three Tenors
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is under scrutiny for possible misuse of campaign contributions, and the latest uncovering has to do with a Three Tenors concert.
DeLay’s political donors – with the congressman in attendance, according to a spokesman – were treated to a skybox at Washington, D.C.’s
Shortly after the concert, DeLay voted against gambling legislation opposed by some of Abramoff’s Indian tribe clients – which could appear to be a conflict of interest.
The bugaboo has to do with DeLay’s political action committee not reimbursing Abramoff for the show. House of Representatives ethics rules prevent a lawmaker from accepting a gift of more than $50; Abramoff’s skybox cost anywhere from $3,600 to $7,500.
Defenders say DeLay did nothing wrong at the time because federal law didn’t require the PAC to disclose or reimburse the gift – a law that was changed a few months after the concert. House rules allow lawmakers to accept food, lodging and transportation from a PAC. At the same time, lawmakers can’t accept anything provided by a registered lobbyist.
Congressional ethics experts said this particular conflict will come down to whether DeLay was involved in soliciting the skybox.
Both DeLay’s office and Abramoff’s spokesman said a lack of records or recollection kept them from confirming or denying whether DeLay was involved with any solicitation.