|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
09/22/2004 @ 10:30am permalink
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The Daily Outrage will periodically expose some of the many odious characters populating American politics today. We're calling it the "Nefarious Character Watch." So it's fitting that we begin with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay - aka "The Hammer" - easily one of the most ruthless and corrupt power-brokers in Congress. He's like Gingrich - except with more pull and less profile.
This June Representative Chris Bell filed a lengthy three-part report alleging that Delay: 1) illegally channeled corporate donations to Texas state legislative races in violation of state election laws; 2) took money from Westar Energy in exchange for an amendment to save the company billions of dollars; and 3) improperly directed the Department of Homeland Security to hunt down the Texas legislators who fled to Oklahoma in protest of Delay's iron-fisted 2003 Texas redistricting scheme. The House Ethics Committee's ninety-day inquiry into Bell's charges expired Monday.
Now, deadlocked on how to proceed despite overwhelming evidence condemning DeLay, the ten- member panel will likely vote to dismiss the investigation on 5-5 partisan lines, invoking the never-before-used "option of last resort." At least one Republican would have to break party ranks for the probe to proceed. That's unlikely given that four of the five Republicans on the panel have accepted campaign contributions from DeLay's political action committee. He's both their benefactor and boss.
Just yesterday a Texas grand jury indicted three consultants with DeLay's political action committee and eight corporate donors for ilegally influencing the 2002 Texas State Legislature elections, in which Republicans gained a majority for the first time since Reconstruction. Everyone's guilty except the main man himself.
Eight nonpartisan watchdog groups and DeLay's home-state newspaper, The Dallas Morning News - hardly a bastion of lovey-dovey liberalism - have called on Congress to appoint an outside counsel, based on prior investigations of House Speakers Jim Wright and Newt Gingrich. "If ever there was a good time to bring in an impartial investigator, this is it," the paper wrote.
To drive the point home, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ran newspaper ads in the home districts of the ranking Republican and Democrat of the committee calling for immediate action and showing an ostrich with its head in the sand.
A sloth may be more apt. Under one of the most right-wing Congresses in American history, investigations into Abu Ghraib, missing WMDs and bribery on the House floor fall by the wayside. In DeLay's Washington, ethics rarely talks, and money always walks.
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