Thursday, June 09, 2005

Tom DeLay Gets a Reprieve, Just as He Knew He Would

Tom DeLay gets a reprieve.

Just as he knew he would.

It's hard to be angry with Tom DeLay. His corruption is so far beyond moral redemption, it makes me want to pity and pray for him, not bother myself with outrage.

Besides, Delay is merely one symptom of the disease of corruption that infects most of Washington. True, he's the festering, ugly scab that everyone notices first. But he's the inevitable product of the lobbyist-controlled greenback system that bankrolls our government.
From John Podesta's Center for American Progress....

DeLay Rescued by the Right

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has won a major victory. The Washington Post reports that the House ethics committee "has shut down...for the second time this year," thanks to a conflict over staff hiring initiated by ethics chairman (and former Abramoff associate) Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA). Now, the Post reports, "it could be months -- and perhaps next year" before the panel investigates the activities of DeLay or others accused of violating ethics restrictions. News of the setback broke last night, just as DeLay was enjoying a "high-dollar 'wine and cigar' fundraiser" for his political action committee.

DOC NEEDS AN EYE DOC: The ethics committee is paralyzed again because chairman Doc Hastings insists that he be able to appoint his own personal chief of staff, Ed Cassidy, to oversee committee operations. Hastings needs to re-read the ethics committee rules. The rules explicitly call for the hiring of "a professional, nonpartisan staff." This is no "dispute" -- just a transparent stall tactic....

HASTINGS MUST STEP DOWN: No wonder Delay says he "welcomes" a House Ethics Committee investigation into the charges against him. The New York Times yesterday revealed that chairman Hastings is closely tied to the lobbying firm at the very heart of the ethics scandals involving DeLay. The firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, was home to shady lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who allegedly teamed up with DeLay in the 1990s in a scheme to help the Marianas Islands avoid U.S. labor laws. (The Marianas Islands run brutal sweatshops where workers are "paid barely half the U.S. minimum hourly wage," are forced to live behind barbed wire in squalid shacks minus plumbing," and report having been forced into prostitution.)

Hastings has received $14,000 from the firm over the past 10 years; in 1996, he stood on the House floor denouncing stricter labor laws for the Marianas shortly after a meeting with Preston Gates. Today, Hastings' home-state paper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, called on Hastings "to step back and turn the DeLay investigation over to a congressionally appointed special prosecutor." We agree entirely.

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