Naked City

The Check's in the Mail

Ted Delisi, who was running a political consulting firm while also acting as the full-time press spokesman for Attorney General John Cornyn, has left the AG's office.

Delisi's part-ownership of Olsen & Delisi, a political consulting firm that has collected over $1 million from George W. Bush's presidential campaign over the past few months, was first reported in the Chronicle last November. At the time, Delisi and the AG's office denied that there were any ethical problems with Delisi's outside employment. And sources at Cornyn's office say that Delisi's decision to leave his $71,000-per-year job had nothing to do with the controversy about his political consulting work.

But Delisi's employment appears to violate Cornyn's promise that the AG's office would lose its political slant when he took power. "My standard for retention at the attorney general's office is pretty simple," Cornyn told The Dallas Morning News shortly after he was elected in 1998. "No. 1, no political hacks."

Last month, during an appearance at a Bush campaign event in Austin, Cornyn defended Delisi, saying that Delisi gave him "12-hour workdays," and that whatever he did in his off time was not Cornyn's concern.

Even though Delisi, the son of Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi from Temple, has left the state payroll, his future appears bright. Earlier this year, Delisi and his business partner, Todd Olsen, bought the mailing lists and other assets of the political consulting firm founded by Bush political guru Karl Rove.

Those mailing lists are worth big money. For instance, during the three-month reporting period that ended Sept. 31, the Bush campaign paid Olsen & Delisi over $766,000 for direct mail work and mailing list rentals. And those same lists are used by other GOP politicos as well. Over the last decade, Rove did direct mail and marketing work for numerous state and national politicians. And the lists he developed will likely provide Olsen & Delisi with a lucrative consulting practice for years to come.

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Ted Delisi, John Cornyn, Olsen & Delisi, George W. Bush, Todd Olsen, Karl Rove, Dianne White Delisi, direct mail

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