One thread of the USFN story was the townhouse it bought near Capitol Hill. Called the "Safe House" by former Majority Leader Tom DeLay's aides, it was the headquarters for DeLay's ARMPAC, Buckham's lobby shop, Alexander Strategy Group, and of course it even had a little office for the USFN itself.
By 2000 the FEC was starting to look into the USFN, and the USFN's Capitol Hill neighbors had begun to complain that it was a business operating in a residential area in violation of local zoning laws. In their big piece on the U.S. Family Network yesterday, the Washington Post reported that when Buckham's USFN had to part with the beloved "Safe House" in late 2000 it took a $19,000 loss.
Now, that got us to wondering. A loss of that scale is far from Duke Cunningham territory. But the DC housing market was pretty hot back then and the USFN held the property for just about 2 years.
So who got such a good deal?
The buyer was Rep. Jim Ryun (R-KS).
D.C. property records show that the townhouse was sold to Ryun for $410,000 on December 15, 2000. According to the Post, the USFN purchased the townhouse for $429,000; the deed was signed January 12, 1999.Now that I think about it, I only regard a $20,000 deal as peanuts because I've grown used to huge payoffs in this crowd.
Seriously, though. The DOJ might save some major cash if it just started investigating every Congressman whose hair looks like it should have a chinstrap.