You are here

Lone Star Project Report

Perry/DeLay Will Set Modern Record for Vacant Texas Seat

Republican’s scheme will leave TX-22 unrepresented more than four months

Pete Sessions Subject of DOJ Bribery Investigation Request

Lone Star Project Forecast Proves Accurate

As the Lone Star Project predicted in January, questionable official actions by Congressman Pete Sessions are now the subject of a formal request for investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a highly respected nonpartisan ethics watchdog organization, has filed a request for a formal investigation with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that details official actions taken by Pete Sessions that appear to be in exchange for contributions to his congressional reelection campaign account and his leadership PAC. In its letter to the Attorney General, CREW states, “Rep. Sessions’ contacts with entities tied to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and official actions he has taken on behalf of those entities raise serious issues of potential criminal activity and undermine the credibility of Rep. Sessions’ office and the U.S. House of Representatives.” (read the CREW Press Release)

After disclosing Sessions’ activities to assist the Malaysian government and lobbyists affiliated with convicted felon Jack Abramoff, the Lone Star Project predicted earlier this year that Sessions’ actions would be called into question. The Lone Star Project report led to several major press stories about the growing scandal. The principle concerns of the Lone Star Project were included in the CREW complaint. (Read the Original LSP Report)

New Evidence Shows More Improper Relationships

The CREW complaint includes a newer and perhaps more damaging complaint involving Sessions promoting a multimillion dollar appropriation for a California defense contractor, Promia Inc., in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars of donations to his reelection campaign and leadership PAC. Sessions actions on behalf of Promia Inc. and the corporation’s assistance to Sessions bear all the markings of an illegal “quid pro quo.”

Sessions Assistance to California Defense Contractor Arranged by a Former Staffer and Convicted Felon

Sessions contact with Promia Inc. was arranged by former Sessions’ staffer Adrian Plesha. The CREW complaint reveals that Plesha is a convicted felon who most recently pled guilty to felony perjury charges. Detailing the contributions Sessions received in exchange for his official actions, the CREW complaint states:

Rep. Sessions has advocated publicly for Promia and the nearly $800,000 Navy research and development contract the company was awarded in May 2000… Rep. Sessions received contributions of $1,000 each -- the maximum allowed by law -- from eight Promia executives for his re-election campaign. Promia executives contributed more to Rep. Sessions’ campaign than to any other candidate in that election cycle… In total, Promia and its executives have contributed nearly $55,000 to Rep. Sessions and his PAC since 2000 -- by far the largest contribution Promia has made to any Member of Congress.”

Teddy Roosevelt was President, Butch Cassidy was alive and Lyndon Johnson had not yet been born the last time a Texas congressional district was forced to go 130 days without knowing who represented them in Congress.

Theodore Roosevelt, Butch Cassidy, and Lyndon Johnson as a baby

It has been more than 100 years since a Congressional District has been left without a Congressman for longer than 130 Days. However, under the scheme hatched by Texas Governor Rick Perry and surrendering former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay, citizens in the 22nd District of Texas will be left without any Member of Congress representing them for at least 130 days, from June 30, 2006 until November 7, 2006. This gap in representation could be even longer if DeLay resigns earlier in June or if a run-off results from a November 7th special election, leaving the seat open another 30 days.

DeLay/Perry Move Will Create Longest Vacancy Since 1905

Unlike DeLay, whose last chapter will identify him as the guy who decided to quit and run, the last Texas Member of Congress to cause such a long vacancy went out guns blazing – literally. On April 24, 1905, the Congressman for the 8th District of Texas, John M. Pinckney, was shot and killed at a meeting of the Waller County Prohibition league. According to the man who killed Pinckney, “I heard a shot behind me about 6- feet away and I turned and saw [Congressman] John M. Pinckney shoot at papa. I turned around and shot at him 3-times.” (Source: Rockdale Messenger, April, 27 1905). Pinkney had served in the Confederate Army and as a County Judge before entering Congress. He was succeeded by John M. Moore, a former State Representative from Fort Bend County after a vacancy of 224 days. (Source: Handbook of Texas Online)

Since then, whether congressional vacancies occurred due to resignation or tragic death, an election was held to fill the seat in less than 130 days and usually fairly soon after a district lost its Member of Congress. (Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress)

Read the rest of full release