Already they respond. Before getting the letter.

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So, Public Campaign and allies are faxing a letter to Hastert tomorrow calling on him to step in, get the Ethics Committee back on track, and encourage the appointment of an outside counsel to investigate Tom DeLay. Here's a blurb from Congress PM today:

Ethics. A coalition of four advocacy groups is launching a multipronged campaign targeting House Speaker Hastert in the latest turn in the ongoing ethics impasse in the House. ... The groups will also call on Hastert to see that there is an independent counsel appointed for an anticipated investigation into Majority Leader DeLay and his travel overseas with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

O.K. Here's the quick trigger response from Hastert's office, before they even get the letter:


"The speaker believes that this is up to the chairman and ranking member to figure out and that outside groups should not try to influence the actions of the Ethics Committee," a spokesman for Hastert said today. "We'd also be very curious to know what outside money is funding this project," he added, noting that some of the outside groups have ties to liberal donors that Republicans argue discredit their claims as nonpartisan organizations.

O.K., again. (If we're outside groups, are we allowed to receive outside money? Just asking.)

But, Mr. Speaker's speaker, you should check in with your ethics chairman to see if you think the American public wants someone who took an undisclosed trip paid for by his top campaign contributor leading an investigation. Just a suggestion.