Known as “Hot Tub Tom” during his early years in the Texas legislature, Tom Delay underwent a makeover of sorts to get back his girlish figure for his premier appearance on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” tonight. Politics Daily tells us The Hammer started working out in June, losing 18 pounds in the process. As he recently took center stage with his dance partner Cheryl Burke for rehearsal, the 62 year-old Delay looked confident, relaxed. During a waltz, not only did he move across the dance floor like a much younger man, he looked as though he had put his scamming days behind him for good.
In an article earlier this month at Washington Monthly, they reminds us of Delay’s sordid past. During his days as House Majority Leader back in 2002 and 2003, Delay had a terrific con going with doctors’ offices. A member of his staff would routinely phone medical offices, encourage the physicians to join a “Physicians Advisory Board,” where an aide would strongly suggest that the medical professionals could get an opportunity to meet with and counsel lawmakers on health care concerns. What the aides failed to mention was the Physicians Advisory Board didn’t actually exist.
But Delay didn’t let that little detail prevent him from holding several staged events asking the doctors for a donation of $5,000 to show up. The doctors, believing there was a chance to influence lawmakers’ decisions, generously donated. Like a good politician, Delay funneled his “contributions” directly into the National Republican Congressional Committee.
During this time, the nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen’s lobbying organization known as Common Cause labeled Delay’s scam, “predatory, deceptive and downright sleazy.”
After all, what good is a scam if it isn’t predatory, deceptive and sleazy? At least, Rep. Tom Price (R) of Georgia must think so. Price, head of the Republican Study Committee, decided it worked so well for Delay he should bring it back.
Under a new name the “Physicians’ Council for Responsible Reform” was born. No one was supposed to recognize it as a front operation for the NRCC. Price promises physicians who join “will be receiving special briefings and providing input to Republican members of Congress.” Hmmm, sounds oddly familiar. Price’s staff goes on to reassure participating doctors that there is “no time commitment.”
Doctors invited to join this not-so-illustrious group are given a number to call, which will connect them to an InfoCision call center where someone will pretend to work for the “Physicians’ Council for Responsible Reform.”
The Washington Monthly article goes on to offer a follow-up by Slate’s Tim Noah.
I put in a call to Rep. Price’s office to find out more about the PCRR. They referred me to the NRCC. A press representative who called back said he didn’t know anything about the Physicians’ Council and would have to get back to me.
I phoned the InfoCision call center and asked for some information about the PCRR. I was referred to Jessica Boulanger at the NRCC. When I phoned the NRCC, I was informed that nobody named Jessica Boulanger worked there. (Apparently, she used to.)
I phoned the InfoCision call center again and asked for Sabrina Taylor, the contact name on Fred’s draft press release. I was told she was busy. I asked if Sabrina could call me back. This seemed to flummox the person I was speaking to. “Does Sabrina Taylor exist?” I asked. Yes, I was assured. I left my name and number. Sabrina didn’t call back.
I phoned InfoCision yet again and asked for Candace Lyons. This was an entirely different contact listed on the version of the draft press release posted on the Think Progress Web site. Candace Lyons was also busy. Could Candace could call me back? Once again, this request seemed highly irregular. “Does Candace Lyons exist?” Yes. Candace didn’t call back.
I phoned InfoCision’s public relations office and got a very nice-sounding woman who said she’d get back to me. She didn’t.
Price is a medical doctor. He, like every other conservative in Congress, has come out strongly against the President’s health care reform. Do the teabaggers who marched on D.C. carrying signs like “Bury Obamacare with Ted Kennedy” know about the GOP’s fake doctor’s council? Do they care Price revamped Delay’s scam? Are they outraged enough to show up and protest at Price’s D.C. office like they did in Washington on 9/12? Isn’t Price’s scam an example of the corruption they find so abhorrent? And where is the coverage from the MSM?
If it were not for the Internet, if it were not for sites like Slate and Washington Monthly and a host of others, would we ever get the truth out for all to see?
I doubt it. Not when the focus is on Delay’s appearance tonight as he dances his way back into the hearts and minds of America.
Pardon me while I go lose my lunch.