Interview with Tom DeLay:
Majority Whip (R-TX)
Congress & Lobbyists: The Inside Influence Game
HS: How did you work with your core group of supporters?
DELAY: You cannot be effective in this job unless you have an outside group
that supports what you're doing inside.
So in anything, in any project that I've ever worked on, I've always had
a steering group of outside people that I can trust, that can get things
done, and they've proven they can things done.
And that's what I did in the whip race. My closest allies that have worked
on things they weren't even paid for during my 10 years here, but at the
same time, were very interested in me and making sure that I won, that we
were philosophically in tune, and they wanted to see that I carried on.
HS: What was the message you were trying to send with the Randy Tate letter?
The problem is, unfortunately in this town over 40 years, people that should
be conservative, should be pro-business, should be pro-free enterprise,
have prostituted themselves in this town, and they have, over the years,
built up a support for the liberals in this town -- the liberal Democrats
-- who stab them in the back every day. And it infuriates me, quite frankly,
that people that ought to be pro-free enterprise ought to be supporting
people that are pro-free enterprise. Unfortunately, they aren't. And when
they don't support somebody like that, I want them to know that I know.
And I think people ought to support what they believe in, not what they
can get out of it. And I think it's very important that they start re-thinking
the way they've done things around here. You've got business organizations,
for instance, that give 60, 70 percent of their money to liberal Democrats
that stab them in the back, and that just doesn't make sense to me.
HS: Do you keep a book that records campaign contributions to Democrats
I do have a book that lays out on my desk that has a report on who gives
money to whom. I never use it. I never open it.
But people that come to see me I'm sure see that book laying out there and
they know that I know what they've done to further the revolution or not.
It's just a nice little hint.
HS: You've built up many contacts over the years. How do you work with them?
Well, I'm known for my state legislative days, that if you're going to be
effective you have to have people skills and you have to be able to reach
out and network with a whole lot of people, and you've got to build that
I started working on that the day I came to this Congress, understanding
that if I was going to be effective in this House I had to have people outside
the House supporting what I was trying to do, and naturally small business
organizations and business organizations and the ideological groups --conservative
ideological groups -- were my base and my network.
And over the years I've been able to put together a pretty substantial network
of friends and associates and people that are supporting what I'm trying
to do. And any time you call on them they're there, which is really nice.
© 1996 Hedrick Smith Productions, Inc.