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(Maybe) Coming soon to a major media outlet near you...

Yesterday, I briefly touched on the Ray Reggie mess. Now, it's time to delve a little more deeply into this scandal that could pit the two major Democratic power families against each other.

It all began back in 1992, when Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) married a Washington lawyer named Victoria Reggie. Everyone knows about the bagggage Ted brought with him, but it turned out that Vickie had some of her own. Namely, her brother Ray.

Ray was a political operative out of New Orleans. He was a talented fund-raiser, and used his his sister's new family connections to help him move up to the big leagues. He was soon in Washington, a favored confidante of the Clintons (in fact, he was a guest in the Lincoln Bedroom at least once). And in 2000, he was a key fund-raiser for Hillary's Senate bid.

But Ray had a darker side. He had a fondness for teenage girls (much like the late, not-overly-lamented Michael Kennedy, Ted's nephew), and liked to use the novel approach of pulling them over with a fake blue light in his car. He was also into creative financing, and was caught ripping off three banks for the sum total of $3.5 million dollars. And in 2002, it all caught up with him.

That would have been worth a minor scandal, but Ray apparently had something worth bartering with -- his contacts within the Democratic Party. In exchange for leniency, Ray agreed to wear a wire during future meetings with Democratic officials. And over the next 2 1/2 years, he met with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and numerous other party leaders and their staffs.

It turns out that their efforts to "turn" Ray were a good investment. Currently David Rosen, Hillary's main fund-raiser, is scheduled to go on trial next month for violating campaign-finance laws. He apparently bragged to Ray that he'd put on a Hollywood fund-raiser for Hillary that ran $1.2 million but only reported it cost $400,000, letting private donors pick up the rest of the tab -- meaning that $800,000 of donations went unreported to the federal government. And insiders say this is only the tip of the iceberg Ray led the feds to.

The speculation is even more fun than the actual events. Did Ray also get some dirt on brother-in-law Ted? Did he protect Ted by keeping him out of his dealings? Or did he tell Ted about his deal with the feds?

And if Ted did know, did he keep quiet and let Ray work to take down the family that is threatening to supplant the Kennedys in Democratic circles? Or did he, in a move worthy of Machiavelli, aim his wayward brother-in-law at the Clintons?

The key phrase from "All The President's Men" still rings true, over 30 years later -- "follow the money." Ray was the pipeline that brought money from the wells to the candidates, and used his talent and connections to gain entry into the halls of power. And now he's using the dirt he uncovered while in those halls.

All I know is, it's gonna be vastly entertaining to watch this one unfold. Somebody pass me the popcorn...

J.

(There has been some coverage of this story in the mainstream press, but it's been pretty negligible so far. Kudos to the New Orleans Times Picayune, The New York Sun, The New York Post, The Boston Herald, and Fox News for their coverage so far. And grudging praise for the Boston Globe and their owner, the New York Times, for realizing they can't sit on this story forever.)


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Comments (23)

Do you take equal pleasure ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Do you take equal pleasure in the revelations of Tom DeLay's campaign finance crimes? Of course, DeLay's actions have a hard paper trail and are denied only by the delusional. I suppose it's just more fun to invent unsubstantiated speculation, instead.

Let Rosen and whoever else gets nailed by facts be tried and judged. And let the knife cut both ways.

"And grudging praise for th... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"And grudging praise for the Boston Globe and their owner, the New York Times, for realizing they can't sit on this story forever."

'Praise'? I'll acknowledge the Globe and the Times for recognizing this obvious story, but I'll wait and see how the coverage on this story pans out before I praise them.

IF DeLay's "activies" are s... (Below threshold)
TheEnigma:

IF DeLay's "activies" are so horrific, WHY are the democrats on the ethics committee working so dilegently to prevent a hearing on these bogus charges? The simple reason being that the democrats know that as long as they can continue to spew out lies the MSM will repeat the lies. The democrats also know that if the committee begins an investigation that a number of democrats will be under investigation as well. And the charges against democrats are far more numerous and factual than the charges democrats have been spewing at DeLay.

The democrats know that they have the support of the MSM. Truth, Honesty and Integriy be damned. Just spew out the lies and figure that if they are spew enough times, some of the public will believe them to be true. Of, course with many of the brain-dead followers of the democrat leadership and the MSM propogandists, they trot along like sheep, repeating the lies and having not the slightest care that the lies are false. Just work to destroy the name of someone out of pure blind hate.

This story is getting NO pl... (Below threshold)
Eno:

This story is getting NO play in the MSM. Sorry Brian, the allegations against Delay won't get to a hearing because they have been looked into before, or are the regular practice of many Dems. I hope the blogosphere and radio continue the drumbeat until everyone picks this story up. (see Rathergate, Jordan Eason, etc.)

Eno, I don't deny there are... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Eno, I don't deny there are violations on both sides of the carpet, nor that that fact may influence how closely these things are investigated. I'm open to the possibility that Rosen and others may have broken the rules and should be punished. If so, I won't defend them. Are you open to allowing DeLay to suffer the consequences of his actions? Jay takes merriment in hypothesizing things Dems may have done. I don't see the same mirth regarding DeLay.

TheEnigma, that's a nice non-thinking "the left are liars" rant you got going on there. Care to add any cogent statements to your position? For starters, you could explain what exactly is a lie. DeLay's violations, as I said, have a clear paper trail. Calling the allegations against him lies is ignoring the evidence. But if you would like to call them lies, then please present your evidence that disproves them. Here's an article that describes the actions DeLay took, and the applicable House ethics rules: Washington Post. I look forward to your identification of the lies. I'm sure DeLay would appreciate it, too, as he himself does not deny any of the facts.

Of all the scandals in this... (Below threshold)
JP2:

Of all the scandals in this country that actually effect taxpayers - with the missing money in Iraq, torture, phony Nigeria documents, phony intelligence in the Pentagon, overcharging by Halliburton, flying the bin Ladens out of the country...

this is THE one that needs discussion. I applaud you, Wizbang!

-JP2

Jay, do you want butter on ... (Below threshold)

Jay, do you want butter on your popcorn?

What fun! Another debate pu... (Below threshold)

What fun! Another debate puncuated by rebuttals of panties on the head and Haliburton. That never gets old.

Curses, JP2 is apparently o... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Curses, JP2 is apparently on to Karl Rove's secret plan. How long before he alerts Kos and DU? Do we have time to reset our RNC Decoder Rings?

Brian, why should anyone ne... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

Brian, why should anyone need to give DeLay's case an airing, if the ethics committee won't even meet to discuss it themselves?

Seems your time would be better spent having people who reside in those senators' states to contact the senators on the committee who seem to be against letting DeLay have his "day in court", as it were.

You mean the ethics committ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

You mean the ethics committee that has already multiple times previously sanctioned DeLay for his actions? The one that then subsequently had three of its members replaced, including its chair? The one with an equal number of Dems and Reps that also subsequently had its rules changed so that a tie vote means "do nothing" instead of "investigate"? That ethics committee?

Wanderlust: ... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Wanderlust: Tom Delay is the majority leader of the House of Representatives. it's the House ethics committee democrats who are refusing to take part in hearings. Brian: Wanderlust does make an excellent point. Just why are House democrats boycotting those hearings? Could it be because there's no evidence of anything other than tacky, but not illegal behavior by Delay? Better of course to let the charges hang in the air, unadjudicated, so the MSM can take them and run with them.

Brian: you point out that t... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Brian: you point out that the chairman/woman of the ethics committee was replaced along with two other members without saying why. as i recall, committee chairmen/women are limited to three terms. as for tie votes meaning "do nothing" that's standard procedure for the judiciary (example: a retirement or death leaves the Supreme Court with eight justices. any lower court ruling appealed to them that ends in a four-four tie is automatically upheld, or "no further action taken."). i'm suprised you don't approve of the House following the lead of your beloved, activist judiciary.

These two are not even comp... (Below threshold)

These two are not even comparable. Rules violations on an ethics level will get you what, really? Censure? You'll lose your Whipitude? That's a far far cry from deliberate, flagrant campaign finance violations. The one is potentially breaking house rules. Not good, but no one's going to jail. The other, well, you're breaking Federal campaign law. They DO send folks to jail for that.

And the glee with which Republicans might watch this is not simply because certain people who might get hit are Dems - we would no doubt be unhappy to see this sort of invesitagation fall on Joe Lieberman, or any of the more moderate, rational Dems who for all their silliness aren't blatant crooks. The glee comes from the fact that many people, myself included, have gathered over the years that the Clintons and the Kennedies are rotten, and more than just the run of the mill variety of rotten that you usually find in political circles. The sense is that they have done wrong and eluded justice, quite literally, for decades.

You're seeing an anticipation of long-denied justice.

fatman: thanks for fact-che... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

fatman: thanks for fact-checking me.

I knew that the core difference here, as harkyman states, is that the two situations (Reggie/Kennedy vs. DeLay) were very much unequal.

Many have pointed out recently that DeLay's issues are common practice for several politicians, on both sides of the political aisle. While practicing the political equivalent of nepotism isn't illegal, it's a gray area that becomes difficult to defend, if/when accusations of financial misdeeds fly. So, brian, if you want to see many of your friends on the Democrat side get nailed by a strict application of campaign finance laws that say "no" to paid participation by family members, I'm OK with that. But, while you are at it, you'd also better be fair and ban the McCain-Feingold 527 loophole that allows those organizations to become paid cheerleaders to the political process.

As for the Kennedy/Clinton thingy, let me give you a clue regarding my position: I waited for years, along with others from my home state, to finally see former Gov. Edwin Edwards nailed by the Feds for racketeering and other related financial misdeeds. And I find a sweet irony that New Orleans, whose former DA Jim Garrison was the only person ballsy enough to go after people involved in JFK's assassination (back in 1969), is primed (with the FBI's help, this time) to go after both Kennedys and Clintons. Both families act like the law is there for their own personal use and convenience, and disregard it at will when its convenience gets in the way of their ambitions.

The sins of the Kennedys are too many to mention, perhaps, but Mary Jo's voice continues to speak, 36 years after she was left to drown.

As for the Clintons, perhaps Vince Foster's voice will yet be remembered, along with all the pardons given on the last day of Bill's second term, his lax handling of al-Queda, and the Left's excusing him when he, while a sitting President, committed perjury without so much as a thought to the Constitution, or his example among the nation's youth.

(oh, and let's not forget the poor White House china...)

AMEN Wanderlust!!!... (Below threshold)
Jill:

AMEN Wanderlust!!!

Brian is shaking in his boots wondering what his crooked heroes have said ON TAPE!!!

By the way, the Reggie daddy was a JUDGE. Nice family, huh?!

I bet you could cut the tension with a knife in the Kennedy/Reggie household these days! : )

And wasn't there some ethic... (Below threshold)
Sarah:

And wasn't there some ethical problem a while back with Judge Reggie as well? I seem to remember that from when I was living there.

I'm not holding my breath w... (Below threshold)

I'm not holding my breath waiting for significant or extended coverage of the crimes of the Clintons and Kennedys, but I will point out that that is the main difference between them and DeLay. Hilary's campaign manager knowingly dodged reporting donations, while DeLay seems to have paid his wife and daughter the going rate for family campaigners.

For example: That 500k over four years divided by the two women equals $62.5k/year, on par with Rep. Louie Gohmert's wife, and Rep. Ron Lewis' wife; then there's the $100k the Lieberman spouse and offspring earned. A number of Republican representatives get their family even cheaper, and Lewis notes that he probably saved between $40-$50k by hiring his wife instead of a pro.

So why is the DeLay story a story? Why aren't we seeing breathless, wall-to-wall coverage of Hilary's campaign manager and the coming trial? If it were anyone else on the conservative side, you wouldn't need to do any noodling for yourself about whether Hilary and Bill knew about the crime. The New York Times would have pictographs for you every day.

Fatman, I believe you're ri... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Fatman, I believe you're right about the chair's term being up, although that doesn't explain the other members being booted. And replaced, by the way, with new members who were contributors to DeLay's legal defense fund.

Also, I might buy an argument to change the rules so that a split decision means "do nothing". However, it is not a change that should be made while charges are pending against a senior house member. Surely you'd agree that that looks suspicious, and I'm sure you'd be all over it if it were done by a Democratic house. Funny how the Reps want to change several rules only when they get in their way, but seem fine with them when they're helpful. (Same way a judge is honorable when ruling your way, but "activist" when ruling against you.)

To be honest, I don't understand this rush to change the rules in favor of the majority. Yeah, the Reps are the majority now, but the pendulum always swings. I don't understand what prevents them from seeing that they're just giving the next Democratic Congress more power, as well.

Brian is shaking in his boots wondering what his crooked heroes have said ON TAPE!!!

What a bizarre thing to say. I'm not shaking in my boots at all. I could equally state that you're "shaking in your boots" watching Bush's approval ratings nosedive.

In fact, I stated, Let Rosen and whoever else gets nailed by facts be tried and judged. But tapes aren't the only things containing facts. Financial records do, too.

Brian: ... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Brian: i didn't comment on the other two departing committee members because i didn't (and still don't) know why they left. Yes, the timing of the rules changes does stink like a three-day-old carp. Sort of like the rules change the honorable Senator Klansman (D-WV) helped shove through the Senate reducing the number of votes needed to invoke cloture from two-thirds to three fifths. In the seventies. No I would not be all over the democrats if it were them that were doing this. It's what I've come to expect from professional politicians of ANY flavor and is the best argument I can think of for TERM LIMITS NOW!!! (sorry--got a little carried away.) As for judges being honorable when I agree with them and activist when I don't: I have considered that line of reasoning and dismissed it. It so rarely happens that I'm not pleased when it happens, I'm shocked and awed. And Brian; Bush's poll numbers are irrelevant. He's not running for re-election. For that matter, this whole frickin' discussion is irrelevant. How did we get so far off the topic of the Kennedys & Clintons finally getting their just desserts? Oh, I know. Brian dragged Tom Delay into it.

popcorn: regular or with ex... (Below threshold)

popcorn: regular or with extra butter?

Cindy

yesterday i posted a... (Below threshold)
fatman:


yesterday i posted a comment accusing Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) of pushing through a rules change in the mid-seventies that reduced the number of votes needed to invoke cloture in the Senate. i have since come across information that suggests he actually opposed it. until i can confirm it one way or the other i withdraw the accusation.

it doesn't alter the fact that the Senate did change the cloture rule.

I know that everybody's att... (Below threshold)
fatman:

I know that everybody's attention has moved on, but I hate to leave anything hanging.

I was right the first time. Senator Byrd did at least vote for change in the cloture rule in the seventies.




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