GOP House members are changing their own leadership rules so Tom DeLay can keep his position once he is indicted:
House Republicans plan to change their rules in order to allow members indicted by state prosecutors to remain in a leadership post, a move designed to benefit Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in case he is charged by a Texas grand jury that has indicted three of his political associates, GOP leaders said today.
The rules change, which leaders said is likely to be adopted Wednesday, comes as House Republicans return to Washington indebted to DeLay for the enhanced majority they won in this month’s elections.
The rule change, proposed by Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Tex.), would apply only to leaders indicted by a state prosecutor or grand jury. A party leader indicted by a federal court would have to step down at least temporarily. The GOP conference, however, could waive that restriction at any time.
So, you ask, why did they write a rule barring a leadership position to anyone who was indicted in the first place? To show that they had more integrity than House Democrats.
House Republicans in 1993 — trying to underscore the ethics problems of Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.), then-chairman of the Ways and Means Committee — adopted the rule that requires a party leader to surrender his or her post if indicted by any grand jury, federal or state.