Open Letter to Congress

Today, Public Campaign Action Fund sent this letter to every Member of Congress:

April 6, 2005

Dear Member of Congress:

Today two major newspapers report two more scandals swirling around House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. His scandals distract Congress from the important work before you. We urge you to ask Tom DeLay to step down from Congress so that you can concentrate on the job you came to Washington to do.

This morning’s Washington Post details yet another foreign trip (the third one exposed in recent weeks) taken by DeLay and four staff members paid by a mysterious company registered in the Bahamas connected to a Russian oil and gas company and security organizations. The 1997 trip included dinner with the ubiquitous lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now under federal and Senate investigation for bilking millions of dollars from six Indian tribes.

The New York Times relates that DeLay’s wife and daughter have been paid over half a million dollars since 2001 by the congressman’s political operations. Most of these payments were reported in his disclosure forms as “fund-raising fees”, “campaign management,” or “payroll”, without details of what they did to earn the money. While other members of Congress do count family members on the staffs of their Political Action Committees, the amount collected by DeLay’s relatives is unusually generous. We are concerned, as you should be, with the fact that the money for these payments comes from donors with a strong interest in legislation before Congress.

Mr. DeLay has disgraced and dishonored the U.S. House of Representatives. How long will he be allowed to damage the fragile public reputation of the House? The scandal-ridden House Majority Leader is a national embarrassment, and an increasingly disturbing distraction from governing. The headlines greeting Americans in the morning should be about the substantive issues facing this country, not the latest expense-paid junket taken by DeLay.

It is time to ask the Majority Leader to resign from Congress.

Sincerely,

Nick Nyhart, Executive Director
David Donnelly, Political Director

(emphasis added)