Required watching: How DeLay stole Congress


The Big Buy: Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress

Produced, directed and edited by Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck

Brave New Films, 2006

Available on DVD

Featuring Tom DeLay grinning like a Cheshire cat throughout the film, “The Big Buy: Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress” chronicles the shenanigans of “the poster boy of corruption.” The most startling part is a 1994 interview in which DeLay lays out his grand plans: “There was a real revolution in this country. We are now in charge. I would like to eliminate the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, HUD, seriously pare down the Environmental Protection Agency and OSHA. The National Endowment for the Arts – we ought to zero them out. The National Endowment for the Humanities – we ought to zero them out. We will do a lot of that. Looking forward to it. [Big grin at this point.] By the time we finish this poker game, there may not be a federal government left, which would suit me just fine.”

One has to wonder why DeLay’s very honest commentary has passed under the radar of public consciousness until now. Bravo to “The Big Buy” for bringing it to our attention! It’s an eye-opener and should not be missed.

The film tells the story of the notorious redistricting plan in Texas and how it was engineered by DeLay. It names many of the corporations who contributed heavily to DeLay’s PACs including Westar, Williams Energy, Cracker Barrel, Sears Roebuck, El Paso Energy and Bacardi among others.

It features interviews with Texas progressives such as Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower, and state Reps. Lon Burnam and Garnet Coleman. (Burnam and Coleman were among the “killer Ds” who bravely but unsuccessfully tried to block DeLay’s redistricting plan by going to Oklahoma to prevent a quorum in the Texas Legislature.) The interviews with Ronnie Earle, the Travis County District Attorney who challenged the legality of DeLay’s wheelings and dealings, resulting in an indictment of DeLay and his henchmen, are extraordinary.

Earle says, “Mussolini said that fascism should more properly be called corporatism since it represents the merger of state and corporate power. The great danger here is that that merger of the power of the state, power of government and power of the corporation…will be the death knell of democracy…Outlaws operate on their particular frequencies. For some, it’s a gun and a mask at a convenience store. For others, it’s a pen.”

Earle says elections have to be regulated so that they are not dominated by the rich and powerful. He also bemoans that both Democrats and Republicans go to the corporations with their hat in their hand and demand “almost like protection money.”

Earle describes how DeLay’s henchmen blatantly manipulated the elections using massive amounts of money “to take over the electoral politics of the state,” and concludes “They’re going to take it to a state near you next if they get away with it here.”