“To follow Jack Abramoff’s money trail, we will be coming back often to this red door. The townhouse at 132 D Street is just three short blocks from Tom Delay’s office at Capitol Hill. ‘The Safe House’ his staff called it.”
So begins chapter two of “Capitol Crimes,” Bill Moyers overview of the Abramoff scandal. Today, 132 D Street is owned by Congressman Jim Ryun, and not by Delay’s Chief of Staff’s nonprofit. The Chief of Staff, Ed Buckham, bought the house with Abramoff’s money. Tom Delay used what is now Jim Ryun’s bedroom to make calls that would have been illegal if made from Congressional offices.
Before Jim Ryun bought his house at well below market value, the house was the nexus of what the documentary describes as the biggest scandal since Watergate. When it turned out that the zoning laws made it illegal to run a business there, and the neighbors complained about the noise, the Abramoff gang moved out.
They let it sit empty for six months without listing the house, then sold it to Ryun for less than it cost them, in a market that should have raised the house’s value by $100,000.
There are a lot of things Kansans can be proud of, but that our Congressman owns Tom Delay’s “Safe House” is hardly one of them.