Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) said Friday he remains friends with Jack Abramoff, despite the fact that his connection to the convicted lobbyist led to a six-year federal investigation.
DeLay told ABC News that he spoke to Abramoff after he was released from prison about a month ago.
Asked if he regrets getting close to Abramoff, DeLay said, "Not at all. Jack Abramoff is still a friend of mine."
He refused to comment on the nature of the conversation. "None of your business," he told ABC's Brian Ross.
DeLay has been on a media tour since the Justice Department this week dropped its investigation into him without pressing charges.
The Texas Republican has displayed the brash style that earned him the nickname "The Hammer," slamming the probe as "weak" and criticizing the media and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for pressing for the investigation.
Abramoff spent time in jail for defrauding Native American tribes out of tens of millions of dollars. DeLay told reporters this week that he ended his relationship with Abramoff after he found out about purchase of SunCruz Casinos. Abramoff later pleaded guilty to falsifying a $23 million payment to the casino's previous owner, who was killed in a gangland-style shooting a month after filing suit to prevent Abramoff’s partner from operating the company.
“I told him face-to-face that our relationship was over,” DeLay said.
The former GOP leader previously said that Abramoff never asked him to do anything "untoward or unethical." On Friday, DeLay would not comment on Abramoff's conduct but said he was not a "corrupt influence on him."
"I'm not defending Jack Abramoff or his actions, but he was certainly not a corrupt influence on me," he said.