Roy Blunt's recent "Jobs for Missouri's Future" Bus Tour is a bore compared to his far more lavish Washington tours. In the "K Street Jobs Tour," Roy and his lobbying buddies make regular stops at their favorite venues along the Potomac, including top restaurants, spas, sporting events, and resorts.
Intrepid Fired Up! tipsters have obtained exclusive access to the tour itinerary and have concocted a virtual tour for your viewing
pleasure disgust. Before you get started on this virtual tour, let's stop for a historic review to enhance your understanding of congressional/corporate homology. Discover how Roy Blunt became a leading K Street acolyte and a star pupil of Tom DeLay's, learning the art of deal-making, back-slapping, and go-along-to-get-along politics that have served him so well for the last 14 years.
View Roy Blunt's "K Street Jobs Tour" in a larger map
This unique tour allows you an insider's view of Washington that the congressman sees everyday. Upon your virtual arrival at Regan National Airport, you will be whisked away by limousine (below) and shown the sites at a leisurely pace. (Regular participants are all too familiar with the stops, having been there ofttimes before, but that's not a very good excuse for the rest of us not to party, now is it?)
Warning: Material may be too graphic for the sensitive voter.
STOP 1: SIGNATURES RESTAURANT
Before Jack Abramoff went to jail, Roy Blunt was a member in the exclusive "FOO" club (i.e. "Friend of the Owner") at Abramoff's downtown DC restaurant, entitling him to free meals at Abramoff's expense.
Please note that the name and owner of the restaurant have changed since Abramoff departed for prison.
STOP 2: BLUNT'S CAPITOL OFFICES
Where some of it goes down. The AP in January 2006:
[Roy] Blunt and [Tom] DeLay and their aides frequently met with Abramoff's lobbying team and even jointly signed a letter supportive of an Indian tribe client at the heart of the Abramoff criminal investigation, according to records published by The Associated Press over the past year.
STOP 3: RELY ON YOUR BELIEFS (ROYB) FUND OFFICE
The ROYB fund was the happy recipient of personal contributions from Jack Abramoff. Tom DeLay and Blunt also collaborated to "swap donations" using the ROYB Fund:
Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess to longtime ally Roy Blunt — now occupying DeLay's former post as House Majority Leader — through a series of donations that benefited both men’s causes.
When the financial carousel stopped, DeLay’s private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay’s wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt’s son all ended up with money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.
Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist recently charged in an ongoing federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Jim Ellis, the DeLay fundraiser indicted with his boss last week in Texas, also came into the picture.
The Rely on Your Beliefs Fund was eventually fined by the Missouri Ethics Commission for improperly concealing its fundraising.
Blunt's PAC and Tom DeLay's PAC shared an office. The Kansas City Star, 1/14/2006
Tom DeLay's political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, and Blunt's PAC, Rely On Your Beliefs, shared offices in a Capitol Hill town house between 1999 and 2001.
They also employed the same PAC coordinator and the same political consulting firm, the Alexander Strategy Group, which also had an office in the townhouse. Blunt’s PAC paid the strategy firm about $150,000 for political consulting in 2000...
During 2000, state finance reports show, Blunt’s PAC paid rent to the Family group and to James Ellis, another former DeLay political aide who directed both DeLay’s and Blunt’s leadership PACs.
Ellis was indicted last fall with DeLay on charges of illegally directing corporate contributions to Texas state legislative candidates. He was also indicted in an earlier case on charges of money laundering and violating Texas election law.
STOP 4: ALTRIA GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS OFFICE
Blunt tried to slip language into a Homeland Security bill to benefit Philip Morris while dating a Philip Morris lobbyist. WhoRunsGov.com:
In 2003, Blunt got in trouble when the Washington Post reported that he had included a clause in a homeland security bill that would have benefited Philip Morris. The measure was particularly problematic because Blunt was dating a Philip Morris lobbyist at the time; they’ve since married and adopted a daughter from Russia. [VandeHei, Jim, "GOP Whip Quietly Tried to Aid Big Donor; Provision Was Meant to Help Philip Morris,"Washington Post, June 11, 2003]
Blunt's attempt to help Philip Morris disgusted even his colleagues in the GOP leadership, who pulled the language from the bill.
Blunt did not succeed, but the effort struck many of his colleagues as an overreach, given that his son was a lobbyist for Philip Morris in Missouri, Blunt himself was dating a Philip Morris lobbyist whom he later married, and the congressman had received more than $150,000 in contributions from the company and subsidiaries.
- WP: Roy Blunt Is Tom DeLay Without The Loyalty
- Media Matters notes change in Examiner story referring to Blunt "affair"
STOP 5: K STREET
Roy Blunt was the "Republicans’ official K Street liaison." WhoRunsGov.com:
In 1999, DeLay singled Blunt out as a rising star and made him his Chief Deputy Whip, where he was required to count votes and reach out to lobbyists. Blunt said he didn’t realize he was being considered for the job until he read it in the newspaper.
As the Republicans’ official K Street liaison, Blunt helped transform the lobbying community into a vote-winning force for House Republicans. In one instance, he gathered 200 lobbyists for a meeting with top Republicans to discuss the party’s agenda. [Salant, Jonathan and Livtan, Laura, "Blunt, Boehner Share Broad Network of Lobbyist Ties With DeLay,"Bloomberg News, Jan. 10, 2007]..
As Whip, Blunt built a network of whips, organizations and lobbyists that allowed him to deliver over 50 consecutive victories on tough issues like taxes, trade bills and tort reform. [Edsall, Thomas, "House Majority Whip Exerts Influence by Way of K Street," Washington Post, May 17, 2005]
STOP 6: ALEXANDER STRATEGY GROUP
Before the scandal-plagued firm shut down, Roy Blunt and Tom DeLay "had extensive financial ties to the Washington lobbying firm Alexander Strategy Group."
Although the two have very different personalities, Blunt has modeled his political career on DeLay's, becoming in many respects a replica of the former majority leader. Like DeLay, Blunt quickly set up multiple political committees to establish a power base in the House.
Blunt has strengthened and enlarged DeLay's "K Street" alliance with Washington lobbyists. The two have a similar network of major corporate donors. Both have extensive financial ties to the Washington lobbying firm Alexander Strategy Group. Some of Blunt's actions have raised ethical issues.
The firm was at the center of the Abramoff scandal in 2006. The Post-Dispatch:
In 1999 and 2000, Blunt's leadership PAC, called the Rely On Your Beliefs Fund, used a team of DeLay-connected political consultants at the Alexander Strategy Group who are now reportedly under intense scrutiny in the Abramoff scandal.
Two top lobbyists at Alexander Strategy are former DeLay aides and the firm had close ties to Abramoff. One of those lobbyists, Tony Rudy, was named in Abramoff's plea agreement as "Staffer A." The Washington Post reported this week that Alexander Strategy would be closing.
Taylor said Blunt's PAC hired Alexander Strategy to "help do everything from establish office space, order letterhead, to things like fundraising and consultation on member races, travel, and setting up fundraising events."
In 2001, the PAC hired its own political consultant and ended its contract with Alexander Strategy.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has named Roy Blunt one of their "most corrupt members of Congress" lists on multiple occasions for his long record of questionable behavior in Washington.
Rep. Blunt’s ethics issues stem from his abuse of his position for the benefit of his family, including providing legislative assistance to his wife and son and using his clout to solicit contributions for another son’s campaign. Details of Rep. Blunt’s egregious activities can be found at www.beyonddelay.org.
“Rep. Blunt’s appointment is a case of ‘new boss, same as the old boss.’ While Rep. Blunt may be new to the job, he has long followed Rep. DeLay’s pattern of ignoring campaign finance laws and ethics rules,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today. “Rep. Blunt’s favors for Phillip Morris and United Parcel Service, at a time when both companies were clients of his family members, and his funneling of campaign contributions to his son Matt’s campaign for Governor begs the question ‘with such an ethically-challenged record, is Rep. Blunt an appropriate choice for House Majority Leader’?”
Rep. Blunt also made the largest individual donation, $20,000, to Tom DeLay's Legal Defense Fund.
Additionally, according to the Associated Press, Rep. Roy Blunt’s Political Action Committee (PAC), Rely on Your Beliefs Fund, has paid roughly $88,000 in fees since 2003 to J.W. Ellis Co., a consulting firm run by Jim Ellis. Mr. Ellis, a long time ally of Rep. DeLay, has been indicted along with Rep. DeLay for conspiracy to violate Texas campaign finance laws. It is unclear what services Mr. Ellis performed for Rep. Blunt, who listed Mr. Ellis as a “consultant.”
STOP 8: THE CAUCUS ROOM
A favorite of Blunt's, frequent stops at fine DC restaurants like this one are what earned him "Top Congressional Partier" status. Blunt has his wife are well-known in the Washington society; Abigail has been named one of DC's "Top 50 Party Animals." Politico:
A top lobbyist for the Kraft Food Co., Abigail Blunt is a longtime fixture on the society and charity circuit. The 47-year-old is also the wife of former House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, who is running for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Together, they are part of the old-school Georgetown social establishment, which keeps them in the pages of Washington’s glossy society magazines. (They even lived in one of JFK’s first homes.)...
Blunt and the congressman drew sharp criticism while dating, but the couple married in October 2003. Although her husband’s Senate campaign could keep them away from the social scene for a cycle, they’ll never fall completely off the grid.
STOP 9: BLUNT'S FIRST GEORGETOWN MANSION
Abigail and Roy's first home together, the couple put the mansion on the market last year for $1.6 million. Like any good Washington family, the Blunts claimed the house as their primary residence and received property tax breaks as DC residents for years.
STOP 10: BLUNT'S SECOND DC MANSION
Nothing says "I'm holding onto my Missouri roots" by dropped $1.5+ million on a new mansion in Northwest Washington before even winning my Senate primary. Politico:
More on man-of-the-people Roy Blunt's G-town presence
Yesterday it was reported that Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who is running for Senate, was shedding his $1.6M Georgetown mansion. (Also a JFK former home.)
Well, so much for the man of the people theory. It appears the Blunts have invested in some new land, also in G-town, that is for sale for $1.45M.
BONUS STOP: JACK ABRAMOFF'S PRISON CELL -- Just a short drive from DC!
Roy Blunt was a member in the exclusive "FOO" club at Jack Abramoff's luxurious DC restaurant, entitling him to free meals at Abramoff's expense.
Roy Blunt was the happy recipient of personal campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff.
Blunt met with Abramoff's lobbying team, and signed a letter that would help a major Abramoff client. The AP in January 2006:
Blunt and [Tom] DeLay and their aides frequently met with Abramoff's lobbying team and even jointly signed a letter supportive of an Indian tribe client at the heart of the Abramoff criminal investigation, according to records published by The Associated Press over the past year.
Abramoff was also part of the donation-swapping scheme orchestrated by Blunt and DeLay. Blunt's leadership PAC was eventually fined by the Missouri Ethics Commission for improperly concealing its fundraising.
More at www.bop.gov
View Roy Blunt's "K Street Jobs Tour" in a larger map
Stay tuned for Part Two of the "K Street Jobs Tour," a deeper look at the Blunt Family Business.