[Homestead] Ethics Committee rakes Extortionist Expert Tom DeLay
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Fri Oct 1 15:08:35 EDT 2004
Nothing is going to happen, extortion for bribes is standard practice in
the White House and GOP Congress. A few honest GOP Congressmen but too
pitifully few to matter.
*Ethics Panel Rebukes DeLay*
Majority Leader Offered Favor To Get Peer's Vote
By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 1, 2004; Page A01
The House ethics committee admonished Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.)
last night for offering a political favor to a Michigan lawmaker in
exchange for the member's vote on last year's hard-fought Medicare
prescription drug bill.
After a six-month investigation, the committee concluded that DeLay had
told Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) he would endorse the congressional bid of
Smith's son if the congressman gave GOP leaders a much-needed vote in a
contentious pre-dawn roll call on Nov. 22.
"This conduct could support a finding that . . . DeLay violated House
rules," the committee said in its 62-page report. ". . . It is improper
for a member to offer or link support for the personal interests of
another member as part of a quid pro quo to achieve a legislative goal."
The committee said the report "will serve as a public admonishment" of
DeLay, Smith and one other GOP lawmaker involved in the negotiations
that occurred on the House floor as Republican leaders scrambled for
support on a much-debated bill to add prescription drug coverage to
Medicare. They eventually extended the roll call for nearly three hours
to avoid an embarrassing loss.
The ethics panel, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, said
it would take no further action in the case.
It's rare for a high-ranking congressional leader to draw the admonition
of the ethics committee. In January 1997, the ethics committee voted 7
to 1 to recommend that House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) be
reprimanded and pay a $300,000 penalty for disregarding House rules in
misusing tax-exempt funds to promote his conservative political agenda.
DeLay has been the subject of several ethics complaints over the years.
In May 1999, the House ethics committee privately chastised DeLay for
threatening a Washington trade association with retaliation for hiring a
prominent Democrat as its president.
Last month, a Texas grand jury indicted three of DeLay's political
associates in a case involving a political committee affiliated with the
majority leader. The House ethics committee is weighing a complaint
against DeLay, unrelated to the Smith matter, which involves the Texas
group and two other matters.
In a statement last night, DeLay said he accepted the ethics committee's
"guidance," adding: "During my entire career I have worked to advance my
party's legislative agenda. However, to this end, I would never
knowingly violate the rules of the House."
Smith, who is retiring this year, touched off the ethics case soon after
DeLay helped round up enough votes to pass the Medicare bill. He wrote a
newspaper article in Michigan saying unnamed House leaders had promised
substantial financial and political support for his son Brad -- who was
running to succeed him -- if Smith would vote aye. Smith, who voted
against the bill, also wrote that members had threatened to work against
his son's campaign if he voted no. Brad Smith lost the Aug. 3 GOP primary.
Last night's report concluded that no one offered money to Brad Smith's
campaign in exchange for the father's vote. It admonished Nick Smith for
making allegations that appeared to stem from "speculation or
exaggeration." It said Smith "failed to exercise reasonable judgment and
restraint," and made statements that "risked impugning the reputation of
The report also admonished Rep. Candice S. Miller (R-Mich.) for making
comments about Brad Smith during the Nov. 22 roll call that appeared to
be "a threat of retaliation" for Nick Smith's vote against the bill.
According to the report, Nick Smith told ethics committee investigators
that DeLay approached him on the House floor during a series of votes
leading to the final showdown on the Medicare bill. Smith told the panel
that DeLay "told him that he would personally endorse Representative
Smith's son in the Republican primary" if Smith "voted in favor of the
Medicare legislation." According to Smith's version, DeLay added,
"that's my last offer," and the congressman "teared up" at the majority
leader's offer. The exchange lasted "about eight seconds," Smith said.
The report said DeLay testified to the committee "that he did say words
to the effect of: 'I will personally endorse your son. That's my final
offer.' " DeLay recalled that the exchange took place before the
three-hour roll call on the bill's final passage, the report said.
DeLay told the investigators that Smith "first raised the subject of his
son's campaign," and DeLay believed Smith was "fishing to see what I
DeLay had brushed aside a similar overture from Smith several weeks
earlier, but this time offered to endorse the son in exchange for
Smith's vote, the report said. DeLay told investigators that if Smith
had voted for the Medicare bill, then the majority leader "would have
made good on his promise and endorsed Brad Smith."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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