Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Lobbying Firm With Ties To DeLay, Abramoff To Shut Down

The Alexander Strategy Group, a firm with “links to no fewer than three of the scandals” hitting Washington, will shut its doors at month’s end.

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 for JABBS readers. 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.

12 Comments:

Anonymous gratuitous said...

Shutter one sleaze shop, open another. They'll be back. They'll always be back, like fleas or cockroaches or dandruff. The Alexander Strategy Group will shut its doors, and a week after that, the Charlemagne Strategy Group will open for business. Same old corrupt management, same old corrupt ways.

"Fun, smart guys" who have found that subverting the system, shitting on the poor and the powerless pays very well so they can devote more of their time to arcade games and beer. And then work to enact policies that poison the air and the water, or keep millions in poverty, or send thousands off to war, and they "earn" another six-figure paycheck.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

They figured out a way to make the system work for them, just like they did in college.

Perhaps fun, smart, devious guys is a more accurate description?

12:54 PM  
Anonymous gratuitous said...

I partially disagree

They're not figuring out a way to make the system work for them. They're finding a place in the penumbra, in the shadows, to subvert the system, bleed off enough to line their own pockets, and escape accountability for their actions all the while denouncing their victims. It's a sweet deal for someone without a conscience or a moral compass; my major objection is that these sleazeballs like to portray themselves as the ethical folks, defenders of freedom and liberty. And they manage to fool enough people and find enough willing accomplices to stay out of trouble -- mostly.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Matthew Saroff said...

Damn!!!! I was in the student senate with those losers, 1985-1986 and 1986-1987.

I once called Tony Rudy's motions "F***ing Stupid" on the floor of the senate.

I should have gone conservative, that's where the damn money is.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Matthew, do you know David?

2:27 PM  
Blogger Matthew Saroff said...

I think that I may have said hellow a couple of times, I was a back bencher, and did not merit much attention.

I was the uper geek of the SGA senate, my big initiatives were getting funding for a the UMass SF society for SF cons and a film festival.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Matthew Saroff said...

forgot to add:

The journalist I mostly talked to was a red haired guy named Craig, who was like a Doppleganger for Jimmy Oleson.

I think that he later became editor.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

As a fellow UMass grad (who knows David), I think you are referring to Craig Sandler, who now runs the Statehouse News Service in Boston.

He was a couple of years older, if I'm not mistaken.

Isn't arcane UMass trivia fun?

4:42 PM  
Blogger Matthew Saroff said...

Yep, it was Craig Sandler.

A couple of questions:

* A few years after I left, I recall some SGA president/Trustee "disbanding" the SGA senate. What came of that?

* What happened to Greg Rothman? I always figured that he'd be the one who would get busted over stuff like this, not Tony, who always seemed to be more of a follower.

When I had last heard, Rothman got fired by Jesse Helms for being too conservative and too combative, but that may be apocryphal.

BTW, with the previous message about that "socialist" SGA prez, it's a bit before my time, but I got a synopsis from Joe Sparks (conservative, but not wingnuttish, though definately a Randroid/Objectivist) which was kind of a pox on both their houses thing, if it's Jim Murphy you are referring to.

The thing that honked me off the most was the SGA Trustee who basically rolled over on everything and then got a PR job with the University (Stacy something or other).

Technically, I was one of the "conservatives" as a Mondale Democrat, but I think that the wingnuts pissed everyone off.

Anyone remember Nate Moore?

I was there 2003-2007.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

I can't help with much, but last I heard, W. Greg Rothman was a big-time real estate agent in Pennsylvania. How about the other "W" -- W. Matthew Whiting?

I knew Nate Moore. He got in trouble for stealing money while he was SGA treasurer. Don't know what happened to him, though.

Don't know the other people you're mentioning.

If you were there from 2003-2007, how would you know about the folks from the 1980s?

12:27 AM  
Blogger Matthew Saroff said...

Me bad. finger habits.
I was there 1983-1987, and at Hampshire college 1980-1982.
Nate Moore stole money? WTF?

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan Kaufman said...

The part that's missing here, as only a few have been kind enought to point out, is that the Reagan years and immediate post-Reagan years were great political times in America. These were the days of the moderate Republicans, long before the maniacal Christian Right and Ralph Reed decided they would call it their own. These were days when truly conservative politics were still allowed to be pro-choice, when fiscal responsibility meant not pissing away billions of dollars on a poorly planned takeover of Iraq. These were days when the worst guy around was Ollie North and we fought drug lords in Central America with covert CIA operations--probably a better choice for Saddam Hussein, but we thought fanfare was more important this time around.

Guys like Tony and Brian had their "hardcore" moments, perhaps momentary lapses of reason, but it was about offering a new perspective on one of the most liveral campuses in the country. All the while being "backed' by several members of the economics and PoliSci departments at UMASS. were some of the politics over the top and off balance, sure they were, but since when did the left-wing radicals at UMASS offer a fair and balanced perspective on anything??? We were proud, flag-waving conservatives and still are. Tony and his wife made an error in judgment, BFD! Have any of us had perfect careers? Have we made mistakes? Errors in judgment? The guy has accomplished a lot in politics, I for one am proud to have worked with him to create the club and the paper.

Conservatives come in all shapes sizes and perspectives, not all of us were carrying bullhorns and making nonsensical remarks. We did however change the course of UMASS' "liberals only" legacy.

11:57 PM  

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