[Homestead] Ethics Committee rakes Extortionist Expert Tom DeLay

Tvoivozhd 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.


*washingtonpost.com* <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>
*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 House."

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 
would say."

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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