Tom DeLay received yet another slap on the wrist from the House “Ethics” Committee last night in the form of an admonishment, his second this month:
The House ethics committee last night admonished Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) for asking federal aviation officials to track an airplane involved in a Texas political spat, and for conduct that suggested political donations might influence legislative action.
The two-pronged rebuke marked the second time in six days — and the third time overall — that the ethics panel has admonished the House’s second-ranking Republican. The back-to-back chastisements are highly unusual for any lawmaker, let alone one who aspires to be speaker, and some watchdog groups called on him to resign his leadership post.
The ethics committee, five Republicans and five Democrats who voted unanimously on the findings, concluded its seven-page letter to DeLay by saying: “In view of the number of instances to date in which the committee has found it necessary to comment on conduct in which you have engaged, it is clearly necessary for you to temper your future actions to assure that you are in full compliance at all times with the applicable House rules and standards of conduct.”
The committee also admonished DeLay for his dealings with top officers of Kansas-based Westar Energy Inc. Some of the officers wrote memos in 2002 citing their belief that $56,500 in campaign contributions to political committees associated with DeLay and other Republicans would get them “a seat at the table” where key legislation was being drafted.
The ethics report said lawmakers may not solicit political donations “that may create even an appearance” that they will lead to “special treatment or special access to the member.” DeLay’s participation in Westar’s “golf fundraiser at The Homestead resort on June 2-3, 2002, is objectionable in that those actions, at a minimum, created such an improper appearance,” the report said. The golf tournament, which raised money for DeLay’s political committees, “took place just as the House-Senate conference on major energy legislation . . . was about to get underway. . . . That legislation was of critical importance to the attendees.”
The report said DeLay was “in a position to significantly influence the conference.”
You may recall that Westar Energy, inc., was indicted in Texas last month for making illegal campaign contributions to DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority PAC. What happened with Westar, DeLay, several other republican house menbers and one republican senator was a case of outright bribery. If we had anyone else other than Crisco John as Attorney General we would certainly see a federal case in progress by now.