ethics

Daily roundup

Dick Polman at the The Kansas City Star has an insightful piece about how the GOP faithful are rallying around their man, Tom DeLay, and what that means:

This Just In

The Associated Press reports that:

Retreating under pressure, Republicans on the House ethics committee said Wednesday they were ready to open an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing against Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

A Pig is A Horse of Course

"He can call a pig a horse, and it's still a pig...It's not going to change the facts. Everyone knows he was admonished." That's what former Rep. Chris Bell (D-TX) has to say in the Houston Chronicle about DeLay's defense that an admonishment from the House Ethics Committee does not equal a "sanction."

DeLay Sends Defensive Missive to Constituents

The big news this morning was Tom DeLay's six-page, single-spaced letter to his Houston constituents imporing them to listen to the "real story" about, well, there's a long list: the luxurious overseas trips he took paid for by lobbyists including Jack Abramoff, under investigation for bilking Indian tribes out of millions of dollars; changing the rules governing the House Ethics Committee and ousting Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) as chairman; etc. etc.

From WSJ to Doonesbury, DeLay is a Liability

The WSJ (no link) cites the letter we helped organize last week from 10 former GOP lawmakers urging House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to reinstate old ethics rules overturned by the GOP last January: "Their home states represent every region in the nation, and the letter demonstrates how badly Republican leaders have fared in the public-relations war over House ethics." The article reports that Hastert "shows no willingness to reverse himself but compromises are being discussed." Why?

News Round-up, Sunday, Part III, TIME Magazine travel section

Oh, how the details are indeed sleazy. This next TIME magazine piece, out on newstands and in mailboxes soon, unveils how Jack Abramoff was DeLay's travel agent and lined up his clients to pay for it. There has to be stronger word for this kind of sleaze. Whatever you call it, it's damning.

(TIME also adds the letter to Hastert from former GOP reps!)

Here's a snippet:

Letter to House Leaders from former GOP Members of Congress

We're helping to distribute this powerful, strongly-worded letter to Republican leaders in the House demanding that they stop acting like they're defending Tom DeLay and restore integrity to the House.

The NYT's Shenon and Stolberg pick up the story in this morning's newspaper:

Questions coming from the GOP rank-and-file

AP:

Republicans held ranks one day after a few lawmakers expressed concern at a closed-door meeting over the party's handling of the ethics issue.

Several officials said Rep. Dan Lungren of California cautioned fellow Republicans about using power arrogantly, invoking the example of former House Speaker Jim Wright and the Democratic majority he once led. Wright was brought down in an ethics scandal in 1989.

More papers call on DeLay to go

Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch:

The GOP now faces a choice. It can admit that past assaults on Democrats were cynical exercises in political hardball that had nothing to do with a genuine concern for propriety. Or Republicans can resolve to uphold the standards they set. The latter course is the better and wiser one.

Liars

Yesterday's main Republican talking point defending Tom DeLay was this:

"Tom DeLay did nothing wrong," Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., told reporters after the weekly GOP caucus meeting. "There's no evidence of any breaking of the House rules."