Tom DeLay and the Russians

TOM DELAY AND THE RUSSIANS….Last year the Washington Post reported that in 1997 Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff went on a lavish golfing junket to Russia that was paid for by NAFTASib, an Abramoff client with “tight connections to the Russian security establishment.”

A couple of weeks after the Post story appeared, NBC got hold of actual hotel records from DeLay’s stay at the Moscow Country Club. The records showed that room charges for DeLay and Abramoff were mingled together and then paid for on the credit card of Alexander Koulakovsky, general manager of NAFTASib.

But it turns out the junket is the least of the story, because after the trip NAFTASib also gave money to the U.S. Family Network, an advocacy group closely associated with DeLay. Lots of money. A million dollars, in fact. And just what did the Russian security establishment want from DeLay? Did they really spend a million bucks via NAFTASib just to influence DeLay’s vote on an IMF bailout ? as one of DeLay’s associates admitted to the Post? Who knows.

But whatever it was for, Peter Stone has a new piece in the National Journal today informing us that even more money was involved than we thought. Through a front company, NAFTASib also donated $250,000 to the U.S. Family Network before DeLay’s trip to Moscow. That payment came shortly after a lunch meeting in Houston, and Stone reports that “the meeting has attracted the attention of federal investigators.”

I’ll bet it has.