|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
Ethics Panel Rebukes DeLay
By Charles Babington Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 1, 2004; Page A01
The House ethics committee admonished Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) last night for offering a political favor to a Michigan lawmaker in exchange for the member's vote on last year's hard-fought Medicare prescription drug bill.
After a six-month investigation, the committee concluded that DeLay had told Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) he would endorse the congressional bid of Smith's son if the congressman gave GOP leaders a much-needed vote in a contentious pre-dawn roll call on Nov. 22. "This conduct could support a finding that . . . DeLay violated House rules," the committee said in its 62-page report. ". . . 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 committee said the report "will serve as a public admonishment" of DeLay, Smith and one other GOP lawmaker involved in the negotiations that occurred on the House floor as Republican leaders scrambled for support on a much-debated bill to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare.
They eventually extended the roll call for nearly three hours to avoid an embarrassing loss. The ethics panel, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, said it would take no further action in the case. It's rare for a high-ranking congressional leader to draw the admonition of the ethics committee.
In January 1997, the ethics committee voted 7 to 1 to recommend that House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) be reprimanded and pay a $300,000 penalty for disregarding House rules in misusing tax-exempt funds to promote his conservative political agenda.
DeLay has been the subject of several ethics complaints over the years. In May 1999, the House ethics committee privately chastised DeLay for threatening a Washington trade association with retaliation for hiring a prominent Democrat as its president.
Last month, a Texas grand jury indicted three of DeLay's political associates in a case involving a political committee affiliated with the majority leader. The House ethics committee is weighing a complaint against DeLay, unrelated to the Smith matter, which involves the Texas group and two other matters.
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