Of course, since those golden days in the early 2000s, they’ve each been convicted of felonies — DeLay for laundering political contributions, Abramoff for fraud and corruption stemming in part from his lobbying of DeLay (Abramoff served time in prison; DeLay was sentenced in 2011 to a three-year stint in the clink but has been out on bail while he appeals).
Abramoff has executed an impressive comeback (he’s got a book out, often pundit-izes on corruption and even has a gig hosting a radio show), while DeLay has kept a lower profile, taking speaking engagements and devoting time to conservative causes.
We’ve confirmed that DeLay is in Washington on business, although neither DeLay nor Abramoff got back to us to tell us what they gabbed about. Perhaps they were reminiscing about the greens at St. Andrews? Or sharing legal strategies.
Dollars and diplomats
The competition for plum ambassadorial assignments looks to be especially intense this year, and the field is larger and more qualified than ever.
The key qualification, of course, is campaign cash. And President Obama’s reelection campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, this time around boasts more than 200 mega-contributors who bundled or gave a minimum of $500,000.
We’re hearing that Team Obama folks have been quietly talking to contributors to see which of them might have “any interest in serving” in the administration. For the high rollers, “service” translates to living in a spectacular home on the Champs-Elysees or the Via Veneto.
Nearly all of the 55 or so “political” (as opposed to career Foreign Service) ambassadors, especially those who’ve been in their posts three years or more, are expected to leave — traditionally, they almost never stay for a second term — perhaps by late spring.
And obviously not all of the top bundlers are up to the rigors of the diplomatic life in Luxembourg. Nonetheless, the competition for these jobs could be brutal.
For example, when Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that Vogue editor and major Obama bundler Anna Wintour was a possible pick to be ambassador to the Court of St. James’s in London, it also noted that
, who last year left his ambassadorship in Sweden early to come back and do a stunning job hoovering big bucks as Obama’s head of fundraising, was also eyeing that job. (Hey, can’t be colder than Stockholm.)
For now, we’re hearing that the administration is mostly gathering names and potential assignments, but it would behoove interested parties to call their accountants and lawyers and start getting their applications in order.