Saturday, February 09, 2008

Why Rat On Your Friends?

In yesterday’s posting I presented a theory, nestled in a collection of sordid tales, of how one former congressman may be the focus of federal investigators in the dealings of former Texas congressman Tom DeLay – or his associates. I am left with one question to ask and answer: why rat on your friends?

Some of that question has been answered – cooperating with the feds seems to be a good idea for someone so down on his luck, as seen in the press, and so vulnerable now that he has no power and his “friends” have all fled.

But that does not get us into the mindset of John Sweeney. Doesn’t at all. Not unless you look at his past statements on his former friends, friends who cannot help him any more.

Look at this piece again by Elizabeth Benjamin of the Times-Union. In it you can see where being a former friend and ally of James Sweeney gets you. The comment was recorded during the time Sweeney was being questioned about his failure to provide information on who paid for his trip to the Northern Marianas Islands. Sweeney claimed that the Saipan Chamber of Commerce paid the bills, and as a US Commonwealth entity, these benefits do not need to be reported to the FEC. Sweeney claimed that he was informed of this by Abramoff (and former Tom DeLay staffer) aide Tony Rudy. Later, however, the Chamber refuted Sweeney’s claims that they paid the bills.

Commenting on Rudy, who by then had pled guilty in federal court to several corruption counts, Sweeney had this to say:
“It was our understanding that this was paid for by the Marianas government. If it was based on misinformation that may have been given to us by a guy who's now an admitted felon, I will go to the Ethics Committee and ask what I should do.”
There you have it in a nutshell. James Sweeney’s former friend, the guy who provided for him a lavish lobbyist-paid junket is now ‘a guy who's now an admitted felon’.

And this, in the end, is why I think John Sweeney is such a ripe target for federal investigators. He had lots of friends, lots of contacts, but has now been left to swing in the breeze by them.

And now we see, from his comment about Tony Rudy, what he thinks of former friends.


Unknown said...

What a surprise to see commentary on our unillustrious former Congressperson to the north on a blog waaaaaay to the South.

Keep up the good work from

"The Albany Observer"

Hal said...

Not as surprising as you think. I've noted in the past on my blog that NY CD-20 and TX CD-22 share some similarities in having newly elected freshmen Congressmen/women after historic Republican dominance. Nick Lampson and Kirsten Gillibrand share similar fiscal views and share the fact that they have to walk a thin line between an established Republican camp and a maturing Democratic one.

It was only the recent research that revealed to me the similarities in our two former congressmen as well.