Tom DeLay's plan for a speedy trial and instant exoneration in his Texas money-laundering case seems to have come up short. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals -- packed full of Republican judges -- rejected without comment Monday DeLay's request that the criminal charges be dropped or that a trial be held immediately.
Not that it matters that much anymore. House Speaker Dennis Hastert had postponed the start of the House session to give DeLay time to wrap up his legal troubles before facing the risk of a vote to replace him permanently as House majority leader. With Delay relinquishing any claim to that post over the weekend, the exact timing of his criminal trial in Texas doesn't carry the political implications it once did. That said, DeLay would still like to get the case wrapped up sooner rather than later: While he won't be running for the majority leader's job anytime soon, he does face a Republican primary for his congressional seat in March.
He'll have to make that run without his good friends at the Alexander Strategy Group. As the Washington Post reports today, the lobbying shop is the latest domino to fall in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Edwin Buckham, a former DeLay aide who owns the company, said he will shut down most operations at the end of the month because adverse publicity has made it difficult to go on.
As the Post puts it, the Alexander Strategy Group has thrived "thanks largely to its close connections to DeLay." With DeLay out of power, the lobbying group had less to sell to its clients. And with Abramoff and DeLay both facing legal trouble, it's not clear how many of those clients would want to risk staying with Alexander and exposing themselves to the taint. DeLay's wife, Christine, worked for ASG for four years. And the company's lobbyists include Tony Rudy, who worked for both DeLay and Abramoff before joining ASG. Rudy is apparently "Staffer A" in the Abramoff indictment, the former DeLay aide who is alleged to have helped Abramoff solicit money for a charitable organization that he allegedly used for his own personal purposes.
In other Abramoff-related news, Jim McCrery, a Republican representative from Louisiana, is now saying publicly what should be pretty obvious to anyone who has read Abramoff's indictment or plea agreement: Republican Ohio Rep. Bob Ney will "probably be indicted."