So Tom DeLay has sent a rather long email to his constituents complaining about the unfair treatment he has been receiving as majority leader in the House.
The entire piece is entitled, "WHAT THE PRESS ISN'T TELLING YOU." (Not even Fox?!)
Under the first news flash, titled: "Democrats and their Outside Front Groups are Colluding to Target DeLay," it says:
Sounds like someone needs a hug.
The nerve! Good-government groups working toward a functioning ethics committee. And in coalitions! (Common Cause has been doing this since long before DeLay became majority leader. Maybe not as newsworthy as you might have thought.)
The next portion of DeLay's email describes how the ethics committee has actually dismissed all the complaints brought against him. Let's quickly review what the committee has literally said about the House Majority Leader:
[Westar Energy (2004)] "...we also obtained information indicating that Representative DeLay's participation in and facilitation of an energy company fundraiser in June 2002 is objectionable in that his actions, at a minimum, created the appearance that donors were being provided with special access to Representative DeLay regarding the then-pending energy legislation... his actions with regard to the June 2002 energy company fundraiser raise an appearance of impropriety under House standards of conduct."
[Texas Redistricting (2004)] "Our recommendation is that ... insofar as it concerns the contacts with the FAA, it should be disposed of by means of a letter of admonition to Representative DeLay that sets out the serious concerns that those contacts raise under House standards of conduct that preclude using governmental resources for a political undertaking."
[Medicare Bill (2004)] "The investigative subcommittee also found that Majority Leader Tom DeLay offered to endorse Representative Smith's son in exchange for Representative Smith's vote in favor of the Medicare bill. In the view of the Investigative Subcommittee, this conduct could support a finding that Majority Leader DeLay violated House rules. The Investigative Subcommittee concluded that it is improper for a Member to offer or link support for the personal interests of another Member as part of a quid pro quo to achieve a legislative goal."
The next part defends the ethics rules changes (click here) as remedies for obvious problems with the ethics process DeLay appears to believe is out of control. This doesn't exactly jive with the paucity of ethics investigations over the last seven years. Back when the Republicans were in the minority, DeLay was all about improving and strengthening the ethics process. Now, it seems that DeLay feels it needs to be weakened.
Next, DeLay says the Republican's internal rule change (and then reversal) that would have allowed majority leaders to continue in their leadership role even if they are indicted by a grand jury, in fact, had nothing to do with him. Uhn, hunh.
While DeLay has not been indicted by a grand jury, some people think he will be because several of his close colleagues have, including several officers of the political action committees affiliated with DeLay. The letter says the change was actually for all Republicans, not just DeLay. Got that? For everyone.
The next part of the email (told you it was long) is titled: "Changes to the Make Up of the Ethics Committee Were in the Normal Course of House Business." This is a defense of the decision to remove the former chairman of the Ethics Committee, Representative Joel Hefley. It does not say anything about the decision to arbitrarily remove two other Republicans on the Ethics Committee and replace them with members who have contributed generously to DeLay's legal defense fund. Was that not in the "Normal Course of House Business?"
Finally, DeLay defends the trips he took to Russia, the United Kingdom and South Korea, which have been reported in the media and may violate House ethics rules. You can read DeLay's defense in the email (click "Read More" below). You can also click on the links above to see the articles about the trips. It is sort of a moot point, though, because it is difficult to believe that the new makeup of the Ethics Committee along with the new ethics rules pushed through by the Republican leadership would result in a finding against DeLay, regardless of the details of these two stories.
And THAT is the point.