Monday, February 28, 2005

Fore Shame

Oh goodness, that's the best title in weeks.

RAW Story is reporting that the same clown who runs USA Next -- the group claiming AARP is pro-gay marriage and anti-America -- helped illegally fund Tom Delay's Scottish golf extravaganza.

By John Byrne and Larisa Alexandrovna

The National Center for Public Policy Research, a highly controversial and little-known conservative think tank which has been sending Social Security 'fright mail' for years, paid for two posh trips for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) in 1996 and 2000, each at the cost of at least $64,000.


The group's letters target seniors of both parties, aiming to convince them their Social Security benefits are in jeopardy and thereby induce them to donate money. The mailings also encourage seniors to keep the mailing secret from others, perhaps even from family members.


NCPPR also picked up a hefty $70,000 tab for trip for DeLay and his aides made in mid-2000 to Europe. DeLay and his staff took a junket where he met with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and took a round of golf with conservative leaders in Scotland.

The ten-day "educational" trip was no small affair: NCPPR paid $28,106 for DeLay and his wife alone, splurging on transportation ($20,266.00), cushy lodging ($3,840.00) and meals ($4,000.00).

DeLay's office did not return RAW STORY calls seeking comment today.

On Saturday, the National Journal reported that DeLay may have violated House ethics rules when a top lobbyist shelled out an additional $13,000 for DeLay's stay at the London Four Seasons hotel during that same trip. House rules stipulate that members or members' employees cannot accept payment from a registered lobbyist to cover travel costs.

The lobbyist in question? Jack Abramoff, an NCPPR director. Abramoff is also on the board of USA Next, a pro-privatization Social Security group that formed as an offshoot of the Swift Boat Vets and recently ran an ad claiming AARP supported gay marriage.