Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Man Overboard 

He may not know it yet, but the Texas Bug Man has just about reached the end of his plank. (Is that a chainsaw we hear?) From the NYT, courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.:
Republicans on the House ethics committee said today that they were ready to open an investigation into Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, one of the House's most powerful members, to deflate Democrats' charges that Republicans are trying to protect Mr. DeLay.

The committee chairman, Representative Doc Hastings, Republican of Washington, appeared with three of the four other Republicans on the panel to announce the decision. The Republicans, Mr. Hastings said, "are all prepared to vote at the earliest opportunity" to impanel a subcommittee to look into allegations against Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader.

The latest allegations against Mr. DeLay have to do with his overseas travel arrangements. Last year, the ethics committee admonished him on other issues, including an attempt to pressure a lawmaker on a Medicare-related vote.

Mr. Hastings said today that he and his party colleagues were eager to go ahead counter "an outrageous and completely baseless claim" by Democrats that Republicans changed some committee procedures to shield the majority leader . . . .

The main change under debate is a new requirement for dismissing a complaint if the panel remains deadlocked after 45 days. Under the old system, an impasse would trigger the creation of an investigatory subcommittee, like the one Mr. Hastings said he was ready to form, with Ms. Hart at the helm.

Republicans have said that dismissal of a complaint after a 45-day deadlock is fairer to the lawmaker under scrutiny. Democrats have said the new wrinkle would enable committee members of either party to stall indefinitely, putting off really probing investigations.
UPDATE: Oh boy, is he ever toast:
The White House yesterday stepped up its defense of embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, dispatching political strategist Karl Rove to deride Democratic attacks as "drivel."

"They're just desperate," Mr. Rove said of Democrats on CNN. "They're not offering ideas in the debate, they're not being constructive, and so some of their members are taking potshots at Tom DeLay."

The broadside came in response to Republican complaints that President Bush has been too tepid in his defense of Mr. DeLay, the Texas Republican who is being accused by Democrats and the press of ethical lapses.
UPDATE II: Mr. DeLay asserts that recent scrutiny of his ethical conduct has put him "closer to God." The pitch here is so fat and lazy that we cannot even bring ourselves to take a swing at it.

UPDATE III: Via Molly Ivins, DeLay's quote to his brother (and, at the time, his attorney) Randy DeLay, whose lobbying efforts had become a political embarrassment to Tom: "I can't afford you as a brother anymore."

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