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The DeLay Rule wasn’t lenient enough

The Stakeholder points to this WaPo article which shows just how seriously the House Republican leadership takes its ethics.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is leaning toward removing the House ethics committee chairman, who admonished House Majority Leader Tom DeLay this fall and has said he will treat DeLay like any other member, several Republican aides said yesterday.

Although Hastert (Ill.) has not made a decision, the expectation among leadership aides is that the chairman, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), long at odds with party leaders because of his independence, will be replaced when Congress convenes next week.

The aides said a likely replacement is Rep. Lamar S. Smith, one of DeLay’s fellow Texans, who held the job from 1999 to 2001. Smith wrote a check this year to DeLay’s defense fund. An aide said Smith was favored for his knowledge of committee procedure.

This is like appointing Bonnie to be Clyde’s jailer. Why not just disband the Ethics Committee altogether and be done with it?

As Boffoblog noted, Lamar Smith‘s favorite thing to say to Tom DeLay is “Thank you sir, may I please have another?” Which is to say, he’s well qualified for the job.

UPDATE: Greg has a fine suggestion:

[H]ere’s a great idea for a reform measure that House Dems could offer … why not lead the fight for a rule that dictates of House members to refund all contributions from fellow members when under review with the Ethics committee? And why not fight for a similar one that dictates a refund to all donating members of the House should a vote for censure or worse reach the House floor?

Sounds good to me.

UPDATE: Silly me. The House Ethics Commission still has a purpose – to investigate Democrats for alleged violations committed in 1997. Payback time, baby! Thanks to N in Seattle for the reminder.

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3 Comments

  1. N in Seattle says:

    They can’t disband the Ethics Committee quite yet. After all, they might want to slap down Jim McDermott aanother time or two.

  2. The Latest in GOP Ethics

    The DeLay rule just wasn’t enough. Now, the Republicans are likely to replace House Ethics Committee Chair Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) with a more reliable member – one of Austin’s new congressman Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) who has contributed this…

  3. kevin whited says:

    House Dems can, of course, impose any rules they’d like on their caucus. But I somehow don’t think Nancy Pelosi of all people will be leading that charge, because of her own problems in that regard, but mostly because she understands the folly of imposing potentially harmful unilateral limitations on your party in an effort to show up the other side. The GOP thought it would be a good stunt when they did it, and are getting slammed now for their hypocrisy for backing away from it all. That’s the problem with trying to be holier than the other side — you either have to follow through, or… well, or not.

    Anyway, I’m fairly certain Nancy Pelosi won’t be thinking it’s a “great idea” to go the holier than the other side route, and I think it’s pretty clearly been a mistake for the GOP (although I doubt it will be any kind of issue by the next election cycle, because most people don’t follow politics as closely as polibloggers, and will have forgotten).