Tom DeLay (R-TX) has hired another lawyer to defend him as an ethics committee investigation looms. Bennett Roth and Michael Hedges of the Houston Chronicle report that DeLay has enlisted Richard Cullen, a former state attorney general in Virginia who served as chief counsel to former Sen. Paul Trible, R-Va., when the lawmaker was a member of the House-Senate select committee looking into the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s.
Unfortunately, ethics investigations proceedings have stalled over a disagreement between ethics committee members who are required to appoint a non-partisan professional staff. Committee Chair Doc Hastings (R-WA) has asked to appoint his long-time chief of staff, which would violate committee rules adopted in 1997.
[Ed. Note: A Daily DeLay reader wrote me to let me know that Cullen, in addition to being GOP-connected, is a criminal defense lawyer extraordinaire, not a DC fixer who specializes in inside the Beltway advocacy or political damage control. This reader suggests that DeLay is more serious now about staying out of legal trouble in Texas than the Ethics Committee investigation. --David]
[Ed. Note #2: The DD reader referenced above wrote again to clarify -- perhaps it's the Justice Department probe of Jack Abramoff DeLay and Co. are concerned about and that led to Cullen being brought in. The reader writes,
"the White Collar Defense and Government Investigations Practice Group that Richard Cullen heads at McGuireWoods ... consists entirely of former federal and state prosecutors with ample experience with federal and state grand juries. You don't need these guys to represent you before the House Ethics Committee - you need them if you are about to be involved in a serious criminal investigation. ... I think DeLay is worried about being called before - or indicted by - the D.C. grand jury investigating Abramoff et al."