Thursday News Round-up

Laughing all the way to the bank.

Rick Klein of The Boston Globe reports that Tom DeLay, in typical fashion, has "scoffed" at a proposal by Reps. Martin Meehan (D-MA) and Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) that would overhaul lobbying regulations. Meehan and Emanuel said that the bill is necessary to correct the flaws in the system that have recently come to light since the allegations of wrong-doing by DeLay and Abramoff.

Klein writes that DeLay "laughed out loud" when asked about the Democrats' suggestion that the bill might garner bipartisan support.

Delay and Hastert both said yesterday that the ethics committee "might need to give members more guidance regarding the types of trips acceptable under ethics rules, even raising the possibility of travel plans being submitted to the committee before a trip to ensure no rules are violated.

"There needs to be real guidance about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable," said Hastert.

This from a man who thinks that a jury bought and paid for by the defendant is "acceptable."

News From Texas

In a seeming departure from his previous assertions that he wants to go before the ethics committee and "clear his name," DeLay yesterday refused to commit to appearing in person under oath, according to Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News.

"I'm hoping that the ethics committee will abide by its process and procedures. And I will adhere to the process and procedures," DeLay said.

There is precedent, according to lawyers familiar with the House Ethics Committee, for investigators to meet "informally" with targets of a probe without putting them under oath.

Maybe DeLay and his buddies on the ethics committee can discuss it over a free round of golf?

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Frequent Flier Miles…

R. Jeffrey Smith and Derek Willis write on the front page of today's Washington Post that 12 current or former House and Senate leaders took at least 360 flights on corporate-owned jets between January 2001 and December 2004. Roy Blunt and Tom DeLay top the list with at least 140 trips – an average of one flight every ten days!! They're followed in frequency by Sens. Reid (D-Nev.) with 38, Frist (R-Tenn.) with 15, and Rep. Hastert (R-Ill.) with seven.