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Blunt Response


The AP is out with this story today, headlined, “Blunt, DeLay Share Abramoff Connections.” Here’s the Blunt response:

Myth: “Similar connections to …Jack Abramoff”

Truth: Roy Blunt has no connections to Jack Abramoff. Blunt has never traveled with Abramoff; he never accepted contributions to his reelect from Abramoff, never held an official meeting with Abramoff, and never performed any legislative actions on Abramoff’s behalf.

Myth: “Blunt wrote at least three letters helpful to Abramoff clients while collecting money from them”

Truth: This statement is false. Roy Blunt does not accept gambling money, specifically Indian gaming money. He never has, and he never will. This self-rule is a result of his opposition to the expansion of Indian gaming in Missouri and elsewhere. Blunt did write letters to Secretary Norton to block the expansion of Indian gaming; those letters are completely consistent with his long-held opposition to Indian gaming and with his introduction of HR 2638, the Gaming Clarification Act of 1999.

Myth: “Swapped donations between his and DeLay’s political groups”

Truth: This statement is an obvious effort at sensationalizing this story. ARMPAC and the Rely On Your Beliefs Fund, of which Congressman Blunt is honorary chairman, collectively raised money to fund events at the 2000 GOP Convention in Philadelphia. All contributors to this effort were aware that they were supporting the events and the political efforts of ARMPAC and Rely On Your Beliefs. There was no “funneling” or “swapping” here.

Myth: “Ultimately enriching the Missouri political campaign of his son Matt”

Truth: There is no question that the Rely On Your Beliefs Fund contributed, later that year, to the Missouri Republican Party, as it has every year since its inception. The fact that even later that year the MRP contributed to a Republican candidate for statewide office should come as no surprise to anyone.

Myth:”And Blunt’s wife and another son, Andrew, lobby for many of the same companies that donate to the lawmaker’s political effort.”

Truth: Mrs. Blunt does not lobby the House of Representatives in her capacity with Kraft Foods. Congressman Blunt will recuse himself from working or voting on any issue that would solely benefit Altria, the parent company of Kraft Foods. Andy Blunt is a state lobbyist; he does not lobby the federal government, and he and his father have no contact at all on legislative issues.

Myth: “Blunt and DeLay and their aides frequently met with Abramoff’s lobbying team”

Truth: How do you prove something did not happen? Blunt has never met with Abramoff. He has never knowingly worked on behalf of an Abramoff legislative initiative. Again, he does not accept gaming money of any kind, so the notion that there is some sort of quid pro quo here is fabricated.

Myth: “Both DeLay and Blunt forged strong connections with corporate lobbyists, raising questions of whether the lobbyists influenced legislation in return for their contributions”

Truth: Congressman Blunt has never been accused of improper activity. He has never been asked to appear before the Ethics Committee or implicated in any impropriety.

Myth: “[Blunt] tried to quietly insert a provision benefiting Philip Morris USA into the bill creating the Homeland Security Department”

Truth: The provision that Roy Blunt and other leaders, including Dick Armey, worked to include in the Homeland Security bill in 2002 would have cracked down on the illegal sale of contraband cigarettes, a documented source of funding for terrorist organizations. Those who want to demonize Congressman Blunt have tried to make this issue about Philip Morris, when in fact the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms called the sale of contraband cigarettes a “major priority” and saying, “The deeper we dig into these cases, the more ties to terrorism we’re discovering.”[1] Bipartisan legislation to achieve the same result has passed both the House and Senate and was included in the conference report on the PATRIOT Act.


[1] “Cigarette Smuggling Linked to Terrorism,” Washington Post, June 8, 2004