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by Joel Schectman

Tom DeLay’s conviction for money laundering in a Texas court this week has a vintage feeling to it. It’s partly because of the five years of, um … holdups created by both prosecutors and DeLay’s lawyers.

The former Republican House majority leader, known as “the Hammer,” was involved in various scandals, and his connections to Jack Abramoff and the funneling of corporate-lobby money helped cause a GOP implosion that led to a Democratic victory in both houses of Congress in 2006. But it’s so long ago since this case began that the “thumpin’ ” of the GOP Congress has given way to the “shellacking” of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in 2010.

DeLay’s conviction also seems sepia-toned because it reminds us of a political style and philosophy that seem to have  fallen out of favor. For DeLay, the synergy between Congress and K Street wasn’t a necessary evil. It was a symbiotic relationship that was the key to government power. His biggest accomplishment in courting and controlling lobbyists was the K Street Project.

On his tight leash, Republican members would not meet with lobbyists unless the groups hired former GOP staffers for top positions. DeLay recognized that because lobbies drive a large part of the congressional agenda, the best way to keep a tight grip on everything was to have his people placed inside the lobbies. DeLay once took a bill off the floor after the trade group pushing for it hired a former Democratic congressman.

Lobbies haven’t gone away and K Street is alive and kicking. Indeed, business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have spent millions trying to attack President Obama’s health-care agenda. And Wall Street hasn’t been shy using its minions to fight financial reform.

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Story Compliments Of Newsweek.com