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Ethics Put Back Into The House

Guest jesselee

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Guest jesselee

In January, Tom DeLay and the Republicans in Congress destroyed the ethics process that would hold him accountable for selling out the middle class. At the beginning of the 109th Congress, Republicans in Congress voted to change the rules of the ethics committee to allow all ethics complaints to be dismissed with a party-line vote. Tom DeLay simply ordered his obedient rubberstamps in Congress to gut the ethics committee rules by allowing either party to kill a complaint simply by sitting on their hands for a month and a half.


Thanks to the tremendous public outcry, the Republicans in Congress were forced to change the rules back . Last week, House Republicans voted overwhelmingly to restore the House ethics process. But back in January, when they thought no one was watching, more than 200 of them voted the other way.


Someone once said that the true test of character isn't what you do when others are watching, it's what you do when they're not.


The DCCC will never stop watching. Thank you for all you did to help make the Republicans realize the American people would not stand a partisan rule of the ethics process. Sign here now to stay informed on all the shady dealings of Tom DeLay and his House of Scandal.


The House, once again, has an acceptable ethics process. But it is regretful that it took an enormous public outcry to get more than 200 House Republicans to do the right thing.


“If the ethics process is dominated by the majority party - whichever party that might be - it will have no credibility. It will almost certainly degenerate into a tool of partisan warfare and become a farce."

-- Ranking Democrat Rep. Alan Mollohan and deposed Republican Chairman Rep. Joel Hefley in the Washington Post

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  • 3 months later...

Two associates who did work for DeLay's political action committee have been indicted for money laundering and accepting illegal contributions in a Texas investigation that is continuing. And while there isn't yet a House ethics committee investigation of DeLay's acceptance of a trip to Scotland allegedly financed by Abramoff and as well as other interactions between the two, legal sources say that Abramoff's alter ego Scanlon is cooperating to at least some degree with prosecutors in a separate, Washington-based federal probe of the lobbyist's dealings with Indian tribes and with elected officials. That could foreshadow trouble for the congressman who once called Abramoff one of his "closest and dearest friends." DeLay has denied wrongdoing.

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Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee ``potentially'' spent about $203,000 in soft money from its nonfederal account to pay for the political activities and administrative expenses, the FEC found in an audit.


ARMPAC has federal and nonfederal accounts that shared certain expenses. The federal account could contain only money subject to federal contribution limits and from individuals and PACS. The non-federal account was not subject to federal regulations and could include soft money, which can include contributions from corporations and labor unions.


The FEC audit also found that DeLay's committee failed to report more than $300,000 in debts owed to 25 vendors and erroneously reported its finances. DeLay attorney Don McGahn said debts were paid but not in the time prescribed by the FEC. The expenses including spending on eight fundraising events, two each held at Four Streams Golf Club in Bealsville, Md., and Puerto Rico and others in Orlando, Fla., California, New York and Hackberry Creek Country Club in Irving, Texas.


``Everything in this audit is accounting issues,'' McGahn said. The committee has filed amended reports and taken other steps recommended by the FEC, the audit said.


The Federal Election Commission has the option of pursuing enforcement action against Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee, but the report didn't indicate whether it would. Bob Biersak, an FEC spokesman, said an audit is not an enforcement action. He said similar audits of political committees have been done on occasion.


The audit was posted on the Web site of PoliticalMoneyLine.com, which tracks political fundraising and spending. Its contents were made available earlier to ARMPAC officials, who filed corrected reports in May and June.


A spokesman for DeLay referred calls to his attorneys.


ARMPAC's executive director, Jim Ellis, was indicted in Texas in connection with a separate DeLay-connected committee, Texans for a Republican Majority. In that case, Ellis is charged with money laundering in connection with contributions for state 2002 legislative campaigns. DeLay has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case. He has called the investigation a political witch hunt.


District Attorney Ronnie Earle declined comment. ARMPAC records were subpoenaed by the grand jury for the investigation.


Watchdog groups said the FEC audit raises questions whether similar activities were occurring with the Texas committee, which also had an account for limited, individual contributions and one for corporate, unlimited money.


``Is this the tip of the iceberg? We don't know,'' said Tom Fitton, president of Washington-based Judicial Watch.


The groups also questioned whether ARMPAC soft money assisted Texas campaigns. ARMPAC contributions totaling $24,000 were given to Texas Republican legislative candidates in 2002. The checks sent to them included DeLay's name and title as the PAC's chairman.


DeLay attorney McGahn scoffed at the attempts to link the audit to the Texas case.


``They are reading an esoteric, minutiae question about overhead ratios that has been concocted by the FEC, that is no longer the law ... into a whole 'nother entity in Texas. And I'm going to wear tinfoil on my head so they can't hear my thoughts,'' McGahn said. ``This has nothing to do with the Texas situation.''




On the Net: PoliticalMoneyLine.com: www.tray.com


Federal Election Commission: www.fec.gov

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  • 1 month later...

A Texas grand jury yesterday indicted the Republican majority leader of the House, Rep. Thomas DeLay, of Texas, and two of his political associates on one count each of conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud. Mr. DeLay, who had been under investigation for a year, declared his innocence at a press conference with reporters and described the indictment as a witch hunt orchestrated by his political enemies on the left.


"As for the charges, I have the facts, the laws, and the truth on my side," a defiant Mr. DeLay said, "just as I have against every other false allegation my opponents have flung at me over the last 10 years."

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest John Lapp

On Friday we saw the proof: even with Tom DeLay under indictment and removed as Republican House Leader, DeLay, Inc. lives on.


Using the devastation of Katrina as an excuse, Republicans abused their power once again to cram through yet more giveaways to the oil and gas industries, while doing nothing to ease the burden at the pump for ordinary Americans.


These are the consequences of a government of, by, and for the special interests. This is Tom DeLay's legacy, and it will live on as long as his tainted money flows through the coffers of more than 200 Republicans in the House. Tell them that Americans will not abide this culture of corruption one more day:


Tell Maryland House Republicans to Return DeLay's Dirty Money.


The Republican post-Katrina energy bill was engineered by Tom DeLay's Texas ally, "Smoky" Joe Barton, and had all the usual hallmarks of Republican energy policy: giant handouts for the oil and gas industries, rollbacks of environmental protections, and absolutely nothing to lower gas prices. In the words of a rare dissenting Republican, "The new energy bill will do nothing for consumers and will hurt taxpayers, but it sure will help the bottom line of oil companies." 1


But with Democrats lining up defiantly against the bill, and vulnerable Republicans squeamish about further corporate welfare for the oil industry while core Republicans proposed massive cuts in Medicaid and elsewhere, Tom DeLay's pay-for-play system was on the line. When the five-minute vote ended, Republicans had lost, 212-210.


But as has become the custom, the Republicans held the vote open past the standard 5 minutes, this time for a full 45 minutes. One Democrat called out, "Where's the Hammer when you need him?" But in fact he was there, on the House floor, twisting arms to make sure his oil industry pals got their handouts. Three Republicans finally broke to DeLay's will. Representatives Gerlach, Young and Gilchrist actually went back and changed their vote; while Members like Rob Simmons waited until the last possible second to vote 'yea'. Once again the oil companies will boost their profits while prices at the pump stay just as high. All thanks to Tom DeLay's shameless influence-peddling juggernaut - also known as the Republican Congress.

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