Today's New York Times reports
that Jack Abramoff paid directly for trips to the Marianas, in violation of House Rules.
The lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, submitted bills to his law firm for more than $350,000 in expenses for several trips to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 1996 and 1997 on behalf of the congressmen, as well as several others including Edwin Buckham, Mr. DeLay's former chief of staff, and Tony Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff.
In letters and e-mail messages to the Marianas, Mr. Abramoff acknowledged that he had paid for the trips and asked the island government, which had hired him to lobby against proposed labor measures that would have affected the islands, to send him checks.
Now it seems that some democratic congressmen may be caught in this as well, but they at least filled out disclosure forms, which Tom Delay never did.
A spokesman for Mr. DeLay, Dan Allen, said the congressman and his aides had been assured that the islands' government was paying for their Marianas trips and that there was therefore no need to complete a travel disclosure form, because the islands are an American territory.
Also covered in the Washington Post
, with this nice synopsis of previous junkets
Abramoff's credit card was also used to pay travel expenses related to a trip to London and Scotland by DeLay in late May and early June of 2000, according to a separate set of records disclosed by The Washington Post last month. Sources have said he was reimbursed in that instance by a nonprofit organization, which in turn had some of its expenses for that trip covered by gambling interests.