Archive for Tuesday, April 4, 2006

DeLay to resign seat in House

April 4, 2006


— Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texan touched by a lobbying scandal that ensnared some of his former top aides and cost the Republican his leadership post, won't seek re-election to Congress and intends to resign, Republican officials said late Monday.

They said DeLay would leave his seat in May or June.

It was not clear whether or how DeLay could remove his name from the November ballot, but if he did, party officials would presumably be able to select a replacement who could then run against Democratic nominee Nick Lampson.

Also unclear is exactly when DeLay reached his decision, but one official said the congressman began informing close associates late last week. That was around the same time as a second former DeLay aide, Tony Rudy, pleaded guilty in a federal corruption investigation that has reached into DeLay's office.

DeLay was expected to disclose his plans today at a news conference in Houston, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the congressman had not yet made that announcement.

Several officials said DeLay, an 11-term congressman, called Texas members of Congress to tell them he was abandoning his re-election race.

"He'll resign," a former senior DeLay aide added.

In an interview with The Galveston County Daily News in Texas, DeLay said his decision was based partly on troubling internal polling results, including a poll taken after the March Republican primary that showed him narrowly ahead of Lampson.

"Even though I thought I could win, it was a little too risky," DeLay told the Galveston paper.

The congressman told Time magazine Monday that he plans to make his Virginia condiminium his primary residence. "I can do more on the outside of the House than I can on the inside right now. I want to continue to fight for the conservative cause. I want to continue to work for a Republican majority," DeLay told the magazine for its online edition.

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called his predecessor "one of the most effective and gifted leaders the Republican Party has ever known."

"He has served our nation with integrity and honor, and I'm honored to call him my colleague and friend," Boehner said.

DeLay relinquished the post as House majority leader last fall upon his indictment in Texas and decided in January against trying to get the leadership post back as an election-year corruption scandal staggered Republicans and emboldened minority Democrats.

A Texas grand jury indicted DeLay on charges related to laundering campaign funds in a Republican bid to win control of the Texas legislature in the 2002 elections. He is accused of funneling corporate donations to Republican candidates for the Texas House in violation of state laws.

Federal prosecutors also are investigating DeLay's ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

DeLay has denied any wrongdoing in both cases.

Earlier this year, DeLay had vowed to run a "very vigorous campaign" and win re-election. But the congressman's woes continued to build over the past week.

On Friday, Rudy, DeLay's former chief of staff, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and promised to help with the federal investigation of bribery and lobbying fraud relating to Abramoff. Rudy admitted conspiring with Abramoff - both while Rudy worked for the Texas congressman and after he left the lawmaker's staff to become a lobbyist himself.

Rudy is the second former DeLay staffer to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the lobbying probe. Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay press secretary who later became a lobbying partner with Abramoff, pleaded guilty last fall to conspiring to bribe public officials.

Rudy's plea agreement makes no allegation that DeLay did anything wrong.

Just days before Rudy's plea, Abramoff - who is helping the congressional corruption investigation in Washington - was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for fraud in connection with a separate case, a casino boat business deal.


xenophonschild 12 years ago

As much as I despise Christians, one of their mottos seems appropriate in this instance: "Live by the sword, die by the sword."

"The Hammer" bullied people, used threats and intimidation to advance the cause of racist/elitist conservatism, and I'm probably only one of thousands who wait patiently to see him led, chained and handcuffed, in a yellow jump-suit out of a federal jail.

This single individual probably did more to exacerbate gridlock and partisan hatred in Washington D.C. than any politician of our era.

badger 12 years ago

Well, it gives Republicans a shot at holding the district.

In the district restructuring a few years back, DeLay took on some Democrats from neighboring districts because of the perception that he had a stronger hold on his district and didn't need as much of a buffer, while removing the traditionally Democratic areas from the other districts dramatically improved the chances for Republicans in the neighboring districts.

However, it'll be touchy for a Republican to keep that seat. DeLay was already in trouble in this coming election (which, I think, is a big part of why he's stepping down), and the local GOP is going to have a hard time, I think, finding someone who will be moderate enough to pull in Dems and moderate Republicans without alienating DeLay's funding base, which is substantial and really more loyal to him than to the Republican Party itself.

I hear the GOP is having a hard time getting Texas Republicans to break cover since the VP started shooting them in the face...

bankboy119 12 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

badger 12 years ago

Bankboy, don't foist xeno's idiotic ranting about Christians off on the Dems for comparison. Most of the ones I know would just look at him and say, "Hey, man, chill out and get a grip. Hate's not a pretty response, K?"

Fundamentalist atheism is its own little insanity, and no political party deserves to be stuck with it. His foaming hatred of an entire group of people he's never met is well out of step with any facets of the Democratic Party line, because the majority of Dems do try for tolerance.

Xeno, hyperbole rarely convinces people, and frothing hatred much less so. Your issues with Christianity are causing you to be pretty illogical in general. It's just about pathological with you.

You're turning into a sort of reversed-polarity Phred Phelps, there, sparky.

bankboy119 12 years ago

Because I called xeno out on being a bigot my post got removed? Great anti-Christian bias LJW.

bankboy119 12 years ago

What bias is it that I have? I never said I was better than you. You Dems preach tolerance and have none for Christians.

bankboy119 12 years ago

Never said you had to do that and I don't want to control your life. I was calling xeno out on it though.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

bankboy 119: I've said this often, but repetition does not diminish the truth: The old sky-god religions (Christianity, Islam, Judiasm) are obsolete, and do much more harm than good. They are a curse on humankind, a sick joke that just won't go away. The truly sad nuance is that people (badger, who otherwise is an knowledgeable, objective observer) still give their loyalty and "souls" to them.

Even sadder, we are at war with Islam; few understand yet that it is a war to the death, and it is a fight we must win if we, and secular thought, are to survive. I know this sounds apocolyptical and far-fetched, but remember the recent controversy about the Afghan who converted to Christianity, and what his former relgionists wanted to do to him.

All we can do is remain vigilant, and keep the insidious effects of religion out of our lives, and out of public policy.

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