The Note: Special Relationships

The Wall Street Journal's Michael Schroeder writes of an unusual alliance between Rep. Tom DeLay, liberal consumer groups, and other Republicans who aren't inclined to extend the 2002 Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, despite lobbying from the insurance industry.

"On the other side is a bipartisan bloc of lawmakers, including many from populated states that could be terrorism targets. They say that fresh attacks on the U.S. remain a threat and that the industry can't be expected to assume the risk. At minimum, they argue that the federal backstop should be extended for a couple of years while they debate long-term solutions."

American Airlines and Verizon, two companies that have contributed to Tom DeLay's legal defense fund in the past, won't be doing so in the future.

The Center for American Progress used its e-mail list and its DropTheHammer Web site to flood these companies with complaints. They responded yesterday: And American Airlines does its best to distance itself from DeLay.

Said spokesman Roger Frizzell: "American Airlines does not intend to make any future contributions to Representative DeLay's legal defense fund. The $5000 contribution, made three years ago, was done by an individual who is no longer part of American Airlines."

Verizon's statement is more equivocal. "It is Verizon's corporate policy not to contribute to legal defense funds. This policy has been in effect for several years. The contribution cited by your organization was made almost four years ago, before that policy went into effect."

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank offers a sketch of a day in the life of DeLay, "the most hunted man in Congress." LINK

Matt Stiles of the Houston Chronicle has details about former Rep. Nick Lampson's challenge to DeLay. LINK

But first, Lampson has to pay back more than $16,000 to the U.S. Treasury after overspending his office allowance in Congress, Roll Call's Jennifer Yachnin reports.

Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post's editorial board is totally unimpressed by the "pair of self-pitying interviews published this week" with Jack Abramoff, and argues that he is different than other lobbyists and should be treated as such. LINK

She also works in a subtle Passover joke that her relatives will like.

Bush agenda:

The Washington Post's Peter Baker offers an excellent curtain-raiser on President Bush's trip to Europe, Noting the particular diplomatic complexity of honoring Russia's role in World War II without condoning the actions of Josef Stalin that led to totalitarian rule over half of Europe, as well as the pressure President Bush faces to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin more forcefully on democratic government, human rights, missile defense, and energy. LINK

We're not sure what to make of this: Per Timeswoman Elisabeth Bumiller: "On the eve of President Bush's trip to Moscow to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat, another skirmish broke out Wednesday between the United States and Russia over a letter Mr. Bush sent to the presidents of the Baltics calling the end of World War II the beginning of the unlawful Soviet annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania." LINK

"Russian officials, who were already upset that Mr. Bush chose to bookend his trip to Moscow on Sunday and Monday with visits to the former Soviet republics of Latvia and Georgia, angrily responded that Mr. Bush was rewriting history."

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