Why is this significant? The scandals currently rocking the Republican party are a big deal, but as long as they remain individual scandals it won't damage the GOP as a whole to any serious degree (some of Bush's scandals have that potential, but we'll discuss that another time.)
It seems very probable, though, that the three major scandals involving congressional Republicans are actually one huge uberscandal. If bloggers/Democrats/journalists/honest people generally can find a way to fit these three pieces together, the modern GOP will finally be exposed for what it is - a vast political patronage operation, totally unconcerned with planning, policy, budget realities, or anything other than endless, endless greed.
Given Delay's central involvement in both scandals, it doesn't take much work to connect the Abramoff affair with the Delay money laundering fiasco. The difficult piece to work in is the Duke Cunningham scandal, since Cunningham wasn't a member of Abramoff's inner circle like Tom Delay or Bob Ney was.
One of the biggest clients Alexander landed was Group W Advisors, a San Diego-based defense consultant. The company is owned by Brent Wilkes, a businessman who is one of the four un- indicted co-conspirators in a Nov. 28 criminal complaint for allegedly bribing Cunningham, his lawyer, Michael Lipman, told USA Today. Cunningham pleaded guilty and resigned his House seat on Nov. 28.
Alexander took in at least $525,000 in fees from 2002 to 2004 from Group W to lobby on defense appropriations. Those appropriations are among the legislative favors Cunningham gave to receive his gifts, according to the former lawmaker's plea agreement. It isn't clear what role, if any, Alexander strategists had. Lipman didn't return a call seeking comment.
Big stuff. More later.