THIS JUST IN: DeLay takes the stand .... Robert Talton loves lobbyists and food ... Beyonce is freakin' hot ... More to come ...
1. DELAY TESTIFIES ON THE RESIDENCY SUIT
And it does not look good for the GOP. Judge Sparks asks about the draft letter, advises DeLay to "run like a rabbit."
Monday, June 26, 2006
Former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay testified in federal court here today that he intends to live and work indefinitely in Virginia even as his wife continues to reside in Texas. The Texas Democratic Party is suing to keep DeLay's name on the November ballot, claiming that Republicans can't replace the Sugar Land Republican because he withdrew from the race.
Under the state election code there is a crucial difference between a candidate being ruled ineligible or simply withdrawing. In the first situation, the party can replace the candidate on the ballot. In the second situation, it cannot.
State Republican Chairwoman Tina Benkiser has ruled DeLay ineligible because of his move to Virginia, setting in motion a procedure for party officials to name a successor for the November ballot. DeLay won the March Republican primary, but then announced April 3 that he would resign from Congress and move to Virginia to pursue new opportunities. Benkiser said she declared DeLay ineligible in April based on DeLay's new driver's license, voter registration and state income tax documents in Virginia.
Lawyers for the Democrats are arguing the move is a sham to allow Republicans to replace DeLay, who faces money-laundering charges in Travis County in connection with the 2002 elections.
Under cross-examination, DeLay, who resigned from Congress on June 9, said he served his southeast Texas district for more than a month after he became a resident of Virginia. He said his wife continues to reside at that Sugar Land residence to oversee their charity work for foster children.
DeLay testified that he didn't have to hire movers because his Virginia condo was already furnished. He said his only belonging he moved was a car. He testified that he has leased office space in Washington D.C. and has obtained hunting and fishing licenses in Virginia.
Judge Sam Sparks questioned both DeLay and Benkiser about letters that DeLay sent to the chairwoman about his plans. He quizzed both about why a draft of the letter was sent before a final version was delivered days later.
Neither could answer why.
DeLay testified that he understood before he made his decision the consequences of withdrawing from the race as opposed to being declared ineligible. Once DeLay finished testifying, Sparks explained he could either leave or stay for the rest of the proceedings.
"My recommendation is to run like a rabbit," Sparks quipped.
2. HOW BAD IS ROBERT TALTON?
God I love this picture...
We all know he's an out of the closet homophobe. But he's also a slimly influence-peddling lobbyist-lover. It has become common practice for lobbying groups to ask lawmakers to reserve a room in the Capitol to meet (and often feed) legislators while they lobby. And Robert Talton is quite open about how you get access to Robert Talton:
The influential lobbying firm Hillco Partners twice asked lawmakers to reserve the room, on one occasion for MD Anderson Cancer Center and another for an Arlington company that makes flu vaccines.
Rep. Robert Talton, R-Pasadena, sponsored the reservation so lobbyists could discuss biomedical issues with Harris County lawmakers. Mr. Talton serves as the chairman of the House's Houston-area delegation.
"I told them when I was elected [chairman] that the only time I was going to meet was if somebody fed us and talked to us," Mr. Talton said Friday.
Wow. To get access to DeLay, you had to take him golfing at St. Andrews or give him a humidor or buy his wife's house. With Talton, a BLT and chips will do the trick.
3. BEYONCE IS HOT
Not really breaking news, but I polled like 8 or 9 people, and they all agree she's still hot.