Tom DeLay was a power pimp.
He looked the other way. He suppressed facts. He slandered those who told the truth. And he built the foundation of The K Street Project on the buying, selling and abusing human beings on the Mariana Islands.
Every victim was DeLay's victim. And every victim is a victim of the Bush/DeLay Republican Party.
It is time to demand an end to this.
Today some of the most progressive Democrats in Congress laid a new foundation based on Justice.
Rep. George Miller and his colleagues introduced the Human Dignity Act.
And they released documents the GOP has been trying to hide. Find out on the jump.
House Democrats led by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) introduced legislation today to extend key federal controls over a U.S. territory in the western Pacific, renewing an effort that was blocked for years by lobbyist Jack Abramoff and once-powerful Texas Republican Tom DeLay. [snip]
As a lobbyist for the Northern Marianas government and, subsequently, the garment industry on the main island of Saipan, Abramoff enlisted DeLay and other Republican leaders in a battle against the Clinton administration, human rights groups, labor unions and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to preserve local control over immigration and the minimum wage.
In a 2001 pitch letter obtained by The Washington Post, Abramoff boasted to the then-governor of the commonwealth that his lobbying team had worked with DeLay and other congressional leaders to bottle up reform legislation, stymied the efforts of Republican critics such as former Sen. Frank Murkowski of Alaska and obtained "extra CNMI appropriations" from Congress for infrastructure projects on the islands of Tinian and Rota.
That last line is important. As I mentioned in a recent Diary, Ney's Aide Cops Plea = BIG trouble for the GOP, the DOJ investigation is focusing on the bribes paid to CNMI Legislators from Rota and Tinian in exchange for their support of DeLay's candidate for Speaker of the CNMI House. And here is Abramoff bragging about the payoff!
But back to tonight's WP article. Congressman Miller brought the heat to the GOP in very clear and plain language:
"For years, DeLay and Abramoff used their power and influence and corrupt practices to defend the indefensible," Miller said in a statement accompanying the introduction of his bill. "The House of Representatives failed to stop extraordinary abuses of poor women guest workers in the textile and tourism industries in the Marianas despite overwhelming evidence documented by the federal government, Congress, the news media and other sources."
He charged that DeLay, the former House majority leader, and Abramoff, a conservative Republican who became one of Washington's top lobbyists, "ignored well-documented threats to American security, criminal activity, violations of labor law, forced abortions and human trafficking" in the Northern Marianas.
"They were running a protection racket," Miller said. "DeLay and Abramoff protected the Marianas garment industry from congressional scrutiny and were rewarded handsomely for it with trips, lucrative contracts, campaign money and more. The most exploited women in the world, and the American legislative process, paid the price."
This is the message. This is the issue. We need to support this.
Miller's press release drove home the point:
"DeLay used his office to block Congress from considering our bipartisan reforms. He told key committee chairman not to hold hearings on these abuses. The bill we are introducing is a test of whether that protection racket continues today."
The protection of the abusive industries in the Mariana Islands was part of what the Washington Post recently described as a "criminal enterprise being run out of DeLay's leadership offices." DeLay extolled the Saipan garment industry as "a perfect petri dish of capitalism" that should be replicated in the mainland U.S. as well.
"I hope that the House Resources Committee will immediately schedule hearings on this legislation," Miller said. "Not only are the reforms needed to protect workers there, but they are needed so that Congress' overall changes to federal immigration law do not overlook this gaping opening that the Justice Department tells us can and will be exploited by organized crime and terrorists."
Of course Richard Pombo stands in the way of the Human Dignity Act, but as he is a topic of U.S. District Court subpoenas he might have other things on his mind. He needs to be asked about this everywhere he drags his sorry ass.
And so does every Member of Congress who is not a co-sponsor of the Human Dignity Act. So for the only supporters I am sure of are:
Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-CA)
John Spratt (D-SC)
If your Congressman is not on the list let them know. Bug them. Demand they sign on to this effort. Everybody should have to go on the record to end a system based on the buying and selling of human beings. No excuses!
Tom DeLay urged colleagues Wednesday to "stand on principle" and ignore the media in a farewell speech to fellow Republicans. [snip]
Several rounds of applause and cheers could be heard from behind the doors of the Republicans' weekly private meeting. When the doors were opened to let a congresswoman in, members could be seen on their feet, cheering and applauding.
DeLay said later to reporters that he had advised GOP House members: "Don't listen to you guys in this town" and "stand on principle."
"We have been able to make history for 12 years and we'll do it again," DeLay said he told colleagues. [snip]
Nonetheless, DeLay said he was leaving on a positive note.
"I don't bear any regret at all. I'm very excited about what the future may hold," he said. "I'm very proud of these members' records."
I'm glad DeLay is "proud" of his record and the "work" of his members. It is a record of obscene abuse and selling America's security for a few bucks and a moment of power. Let's return to the Washington Post article:
DeLay is scheduled to step down Friday. He was among a number of lawmakers who traveled to the Northern Marianas on trips arranged by Abramoff. On one trip with his family and staffers over the 1997 New Year's holidays, he told his local hosts, "You are a shining light for what is happening to the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America and leading the world in the free-market system." He later called the Northern Marianas "a perfect petri dish of capitalism," adding, "It's like my Galapagos Island."
At a news conference to publicize his bill, Miller also announced that he is releasing a May 2002 Justice Department report on the Marianas that he accused Abramoff of helping to suppress. The report found that continued local control over immigration would "seriously jeopardize the national security" of the United States. The two federal officials who wrote it were subsequently reassigned to lesser posts; one of them, who had initiated a criminal investigation into Abramoff's lobbying activities on Guam, was demoted from acting U.S. attorney for Guam and the CNMI to an assistant U.S. attorney under an appointee reportedly recommended by the Guam Republican Party and approved by top White House political strategist Karl Rove.
The release of the May 2002 Justice Department report on CNMI and Guam is BIG. As Sherlock Google's Diaries have detailed, Abramoff suppressed this report and had the authors re-assigned for doing their best to protect America.
The good folks over a TPMmuckraker have posted the 34 page report. It is a damning document, not only of DeLay and Abramoff, but also of George W. Bush and the entire Republican Party. They sold our security to protect DeLay's Petri-dish of Capitalism from oversight and justice. I'll have more on this report in a few days.
I will miss the Yearly Kos, but I hope that those of you who are able to attend can bring up this issue. It is a wedge that can divide the GOP (this NPR report is very powerful!)
And it will energize our base. This is injustice on a massive scale. And we are initiating a solution.
We need to support the Human Dignity Act. Call, write, and release the Netroots-- everybody needs to take a stand.
We need to shame the GOP into action.
This should be a National campaign issue. The Republican Party has some explaining to do. They put the interests of their Hong Kong patrons ahead of justice and America.
They used their offices and positions to protect abuse and promote injustice. They put the Government of the United States of America in the business of supporting sweatshops, human trafficking, force prostitution and forced abortion. And they did it for money and power.
We need to talk about this. It needs to be a topic at Yearly Kos. We need to make this an issue for 2006. The more we talk about it the less likely it is that the Bush political appointees will be able to sweep the Abramoff/DeLay abuse investigation under the rug (once again).
Every member of the GOP Caucus who worked to block legislation extending US labor, immigration and custom laws to CNMI should be put on the defensive. The crimes were real and the evidence has been presented to Congress since before 1994. It is time to hold these folks accountable: both as co-conspirators and at the ballot box.
2006 is now. Let's take our Country back!