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No want of a nail

"No want of a nail" Continued...

Issue: "The fewer and the proud," April 23, 2005

Mr. DeLay has clearly gotten results for his party. TRMPAC helped elect to the Texas legislature Republicans who were willing to help redraw lines for congressional districts. The redistricting spearheaded by Mr. DeLay led to more GOP members in the U.S. House. But Mr. DeLay's support may be weakening. The most vocal GOP congressional critic of Mr. DeLay so far is Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), a GOP moderate who has battled the House leadership before. "My party is going to have to decide whether we are going to continue to make excuses for Tom to the detriment of Republicans seeking election," he said. "Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority, and it is hurting any Republican who is up for reelection."

DeLay heat sheet

Foreign Exchange

Gist: Rep. DeLay took three trips abroad, purportedly on the dime of lobbyists or "foreign agents." House ethics rules prohibit members from taking such trips.

Details: In 1997, Mr. DeLay traveled to Russia for six days of playing golf and meeting with government and business officials. The National Center for Public Policy Research legally funded the trip. But The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, charged that lobbyists underwrote that trip and another one in 2000 to the United Kingdom. And in 2001, Mr. DeLay embarked on a trip to South Korea paid for by a nonprofit which had only days before the trip reclassified itself as a foreign agent.

What will happen: Probably nothing, unless the Post's sources show their faces. The group sponsoring the South Korea trip never informed Mr. DeLay-or other House officials including a staffer for Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi-so it's unlikely the House Ethics Committee would punish him.

Nepotism

Gist: Mr. DeLay's wife, Christine DeLay, and daughter, Danielle DeLay Ferro, helped operate several of his political organizations.

Details: Mr. DeLay's wife and daughter received $500,000 between them in the past four years from Mr. DeLay's Republican Majority Political Action Committee-an average of $62,500 each per year. Republican insiders say Mrs. DeLay and Ms. Ferro actually earned that money as hard-working administrators. Washington political organizations regularly employ relatives of legislators-for example, Rep. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, has used campaign funds to pay his wife and daughter over $150,000 since 2000-and what some decry as nepotism others applaud as family-friendly.

What will happen: Probably nothing. The Federal Election Commission finds no fault with members of Congress who put family members to work as long as the work is real and the payments are not exorbitant. Democrats may not want to deny the two women equal pay for equal work.

TRMPAC

Gist: A Texas prosecutor says Mr. DeLay's political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) took money from corporate donors and funneled it to Texas politicians running for the state House of Representatives.

Details: A Texas district attorney in Austin is investigating TRMPAC's money trail and has returned three indictments on associates of Mr. DeLay. Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, says Mr. DeLay's TRMPAC served as a conduit between soft money from corporations and coffers for Republicans running for State seats.

Mr. DeLay can say he's being investigated out of a political motivation, but the Austin prosecutor has indicted four times as many Democrats as Republicans throughout his career.

What will happen: Under GOP-implemented House rules, Mr. DeLay must cede his Majority Leader status if Ronnie Earle returns an indictment on him-and, as Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) told CBS's 60 Minutes, "A good district attorney can indict a ham sandwich if he wants to."

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