Saturday, August 19, 2006

More DeLay Ties for Roskam

Congressional race starts getting nasty

Posted Friday, August 18, 2006

The first bit of political nastiness in the 6th Congressional District race surfaced Thursday about the ethical pasts of key campaign staff for both Republican Peter Roskam and Democrat Tammy Duckworth.

The Duckworth campaign initially criticized Roskam for allowing the national GOP to send in veteran operative Jason Roe, pointing to his past work for indicted ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas and involvement in an ethics investigation about a prescription drug vote.

“I think it’s clear that the alarm bells have gone off about Peter Roskam’s campaign,” Duckworth spokeswoman Christine Glunz said. “Sending in someone who has ties to Tom DeLay as well as someone who is doing dirty work, strong-arming and twisting arms on the Medicare bill.”

But the National Republican Campaign Committee was able to boomerang the ethics rap on Roe back at Duckworth, pointing out that her campaign manager, Jon Carson, was granted immunity as part of a 2001 probe into political corruption involving a prominent Wisconsin Democrat.

Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, called the Duckworth campaign’s criticisms “stunningly hypocritical.”

“(Duckworth) has resorted to Chicago Democrat machine-style mudslinging and dirty tricks,” Collegio said.

The charges and counter-charges amounted to “your campaign worker has more ethical baggage than our campaign worker.”

Roe worked three weeks on DeLay’s 2004 re-election campaign helping with get-out-the-vote efforts. DeLay since has lost his majority leader position amid scandal, but Roe is not involved in that.

Also, a 2004 House ethics report shows Nick Smith, then a Michigan congressman, testified that Roe told him his son who was running to succeed him could receive “substantial support” if the elder Smith voted for the federal prescription drug plan. Roe pointed out the report clears him of any wrongdoing and said he only was responding to Smith’s question about the ramifications of a vote.

Carson briefly worked as the No. 2 staff member for then-Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader Chuck Chvala, who was eventually sentenced to nine months for political corruption. Carson, who was not accused of any wrongdoing, was granted immunity from prosecution and paid his own legal bills.

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