And if the latter is true—how far will his fellow Republicans and constituents let him go before shouting enough is enough? I for one would not shed a tear if Delay were brought down and brought do hard.
The powerful Congressman from Texas has been admonished three times over the last year for official misconduct by the House ethics committee, but still he seems to remain as powerful as ever, suggesting that Republican Party’s claim to the moral high ground on ethics is lodged deep within the bosom of hypocrisy. And once again Tom Delay is in the news for allegedly violating House ethics rules by taking a trip sponsored by foreign interests.
And yet the ten member (five Republicans and five Democrats) House ethics committee formally the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, is powerless to act because of rules changed pushed by Delay’s political toady House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)—who I am ashamed to say represents my district in Illinois—who recently replaced the chairman and two other Republican members, with Congressmen more loyal to the leadership. Then came the rule changes pushed by the Republican leadership that make it impossible for the committee to investigate a member of the House for wrong-doing without a majority vote. The rules used to stipulate that in the event of a tie an investigation would be triggered thereby upholding the bi-partisan flavor of the body.
The rule changes have effectively stalemated the committee and allowed Tom Delay to thwart the system set up to weed out those who would abuse their power. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (W.Va.), said recently in an interview that
"[T]hese rules undermine the ability of the committee to do its job…an ethics committee has to do a good job if it's going to do any job at all."He made these remarks after the committee met, stalemated, and fail to agree to start an investigation into Delay’s latest violations of House ethics rules.
These are far from Delay’s only flirtation with lapse ethics. In Texas, three of his close associates have been indicted on charges of illegal corporate campaign contributions and money laundering by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, based in Austin. It is alleged that most of the money was raised from corporations in 2002 and fueled the now famous (infamous if you are a Democrat) Republican takeover of the Texas legislature. Such contributions are a violation of Texas state law.
The three associates are Jim Ellis, a close Delay political associate, fundraiser Warren RoBold and John Colyandro, executive director of DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC). In addition to the charges of illegal contributions, indictments on charges of money laundering were also leveled against both Colyandro and Ellis.
Can any rational thinking person believe the Delay did not have a hand in the wrongdoings? And again House ethics rules were changed by the Republican leadership to protect him in case he is indicted.
What of our vaunted American system of checks-and-balances if one party can run rouge-shot over the other in an undecidedly undemocratic flaunting of power? Has Delay grown too powerful and the Speaker too weak, and the House too sullied with the excrement of the Republicans flagrant and abusive power-grapping shenanigans to be trusted with the peoples business?
DeLay linked to fund-raising for PAC under investigation
Texas Dems See Violations in DeLay Actions
DeLay PAC Lawsuit Goes to Trial in Texas
DeLay: More Cash—And More Questions