Today's Newsday carries a story we've known about for awhile -- Tom DeLay holds between $50,000 and $100,000 in ExxonMobil stock and has aggressively pushed legislation which would shield the giant oil corporation from any liability for its pollution of drinking water all across the country. Here's their lede:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay owns stock worth more than $50,000 in ExxonMobil, according to financial disclosure reports, while at the same time he is one of the driving forces behind legislation that would shield that company and other manufacturers of the gasoline additive MTBE from lawsuits that could cost them millions.
What Newsday fails to do is put this in its proper context. Here is a snippet from an interview DeLay did with the Washington Times, which appeared excerpted in their April 14, 2005, edition (emphasis mine):
[Reporter Charles] Hurt: Have you ever crossed the line of ethical behavior in terms of dealing with lobbyists, your use of government authority or with fundraising?
Mr. DeLay: "Ever" is a very strong word. Let me start out by saying, you can never find anything that I have done for personal gain. Period. What I'm doing is what I believe in; I'm doing it the way I believe in it. Yes, I'm aggressive. I'm passionate about what I believe in, and I'm passionate about winning and accomplishing our agenda.
I know since 1995 that everything that we have done has been checked by lawyers, double-checked by lawyers, triple-checked by lawyers, because I know I have been watched and investigated probably more than even Bill Clinton.
They can't find anything, so they're going back to my childhood, going to my family, going to things that happened eight years ago. There's nothing there. And they can keep looking. There's nothing there. I have tried to act ethically; I have tried to act honestly. I have tried to keep my reputation - to fight for my reputation - while it's been besmirched, and I have tried to do it in a way that brings honor to the House.
I guess we can stop looking.
Well, here's one more thing before we stop (yeah, right). ExxonMobil made a $50,000 charitable donation (PDF, page 9) to DeLay Foundation for Kids in 2003. How convenient.