House Republicans cry “uncle” on their DeLay-hugging ethics rules.
House Republican leaders, acknowledging that ethics disputes are taking a heavy toll on the party’s image, decided yesterday to rescind a controversial rule change that led to the three-month shutdown of the ethics committee, according to officials who participated in the talks.
Republicans touched off a political uproar in January by changing a rule that had required the ethics committee to continue considering a complaint against a House member if there was a deadlock between the committee’s five Republicans and five Democrats. The January change reversed this, calling for automatic dismissal of an ethics complaint when a deadlock occurs.
This morning, at a weekly meeting for all House Republicans, Hastert will present options for the rollback package, officials said. The officials, who demanded anonymity because the negotiations were confidential, said the proposal will include a reversal of the January rule that would automatically dismiss an ethics complaint after 45 days if the committee is deadlocked.
“It’s gone,” an official said of the automatic-dismissal rule as he emerged from the negotiations.
A House Republican leadership aide said that the automatic-dismissal rule is “the rule that is most commonly believed to be designed to protect Tom DeLay” and that it was “impossible to win the communications battle” on it.