The House Ethics Committee is supposed to have met at 2 PM EDT to (finally) decide what to do on the Chris Bell ethics complaint against Tom DeLay. Let's hope they take this group's advice and appoint an outside counsel.
I note with some amusement that Judicial Watch is calling on DeLay to step down as Majority Leader. They don't even address the Bell complaint here (though they do call on the ranking Democrat on the Ethics Committee to recuse himself for discussing the case with Nancy Pelosi) - their beef is over the admonishment DeLay got for the Medicare vote wrongdoing. Judicial Watch is and has always been a bunch of cranks, but every once in awhile they're cranks who advocate something I agree with.
Richard Morrison notes DeLay's continuing ethical struggles. Click the More link for his take on the Judicial Watch action and other related items.
Something else that will determine what effect the admonishments and controversies will have on DeLay’s future is how Republicans fare in the upcoming election.
“I think it could add up eventually, but I don’t think it’s a problem for him right now,” said Rep. Ray LaHood, a fifth-term Republican from Illinois who is close to Hastert. LaHood then referred to the Texas legal proceedings: “I think people will be watching the grand jury investigation and the election.”
“If we pick up four or five seats [in Texas], that’ll help the conference,” LaHood added. “I think there would be a lot of appreciation for [DeLay] because he got it done.”
UPDATE: MSNBC reports a second rebuke for DeLay.
The House ethics committee Wednesday criticized House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for conduct that appeared to link political donations to legislation and for improperly contacting U.S. aviation authorities for political purposes, House sources said Wednesday.
The committee’s findings were an extraordinary second rebuke of the Texas Republican’s ethical conduct in just six days.
The committee of five Democrats and five Republicans deferred to Texas authorities’ allegations that DeLay violated state campaign finance rules.
The committee’s findings — a letter admonishing his conduct — nonetheless spared him a lengthy investigation by the ethics panel.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the report had not yet been released.
DELAY’S DOWNWARD SPIRAL
Conservative Group Calls for DeLay to Step Down
GOP Reps Say DeLay’s Ethics a Problem
(Houston- October 6, 2004) –Today Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group, called on Tom DeLay to step down as Majority Leader. The group called DeLay’s coercion of another Member surrounding the Medicare prescription drug bill “inappropriate and unacceptable.” Judicial Watch is best known for their repeated attacks on former President Clinton.
Several Republican House members have also acknowledged that DeLay’s ethics problems are threatening his position. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said DeLay’s future “depends on the outcome” of the ethics investigation. Another Republican member said, “Until some of these issues are cleared, the Leader has a problem.”
“DeLay tries to hide behind his political lieutenants and when that doesn’t work he resorts to blaming his ethics problems on Democrats, “ said Morrison. “But he can’t blame the Democrats any longer because conservatives and members of his own party are calling for his resignation. Tom DeLay is finally being exposed for the corrupt politician that he is.”
Republicans are at the head of two of the three recent ethics investigations. The House Ethics committee admonished DeLay after Republican Rep. Nick Smith (MI) claimed DeLay attempted to bribe him with political favors in exchange for his ‘yes’ vote on the controversial Medicare bill. DeLay tries to blame Democrats for the two other corruption investigations he’s closely tied to. The TRMPAC indictments and ongoing investigations are the result of Travis County DA Ronnie Earle, a Democrat. However, DeLay conveniently omits the fact that most of the elected officials Earle has indicted are Democrats. And the most recent corruption case involving former DeLay spokesman, Mike Scanlon and close advisor, Jack Abramoff is led by two prominent Republicans – Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado.
”DeLay is on a downward spiral,” said Morrison. “He can try and spin his way out of this one, but he still has to face the voters on Election Day.”
DeLay has been reprimanded three times by the House Ethics committee and is currently facing another ethics complaint for money laundering and abuse of power.Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 06, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack