The lobbying firm had thrived since its founding in 1998 thanks largely to its close connections to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX). Edwin A. Buckham, the former top DeLay aide who owns the company, confirmed the firm’s future with the Washington Post.
Buckham’s firm employed DeLay’s wife, Christine, for four years. It also benefited by working closely with Abramoff. Abramoff’s plea agreement mentioned his close ties to Tony Rudy, one of Buckham’s colleagues at ASG, identified in the court papers as “Staffer A.”
Rudy, a former DeLay aide, worked for Abramoff before joining ASG. According to the plea document, a political consulting firm run by Rudy’s wife allegedly received $50,000 in exchange for official actions Rudy took while working for DeLay.
A senior ASG employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, estimated that up to 50 percent of the firm’s clients probably would have abandoned the firm soon because of adverse publicity about the continuing investigations involving Rudy and Buckham.
The 12 lobbyists who now work at ASG — other than Rudy and Buckham — apparently intend to start a successor firm, to serve former ASG clients.
A little side note: I know Tony Rudy. He — along with Brian Darling, an aide to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), who was outed as the author of the memo suggesting that Republicans use the Terri Schiavo tragedy for political gain — were one-half of a quartet that led the conservatives in the University of Massachusetts student government in the late 1980s.
Things might have been more innocent in those days. I remember arguing with Tony, Brian and their colleagues about all things Reagan. But basically, I remember them as being fun, smart guys who happily wasted time in the campus center arcade, and weren’t against getting a beer.
Even then, we were rivals. In addition to their work in student government, Tony and Brian helped launch a conservative rag, The Minuteman, which had a not-always-friendly rivalry with the newspaper I helped edit, The Daily Collegian.
Now, some 17 years later, Tony Rudy and Brian Darling have become tragic heroes for the conservative noise machine. And I continue to fight it.
This item first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.