Friends to the End?
Wes Allison of the St. Petersburg Times writes that Delay has spent a lot of money cultivating the kind of friends who’ll stand by you when your ethical shortcomings become a distraction from your work.
"He takes very good care of his members, he understands their needs, and then when he needs to get votes for an issue, he's got a lot of good will built up," said Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Oviedo.
In 2002, Delay’s political action committee Armpac gave $10,000 to Feeney’s campaign.
However, purchased support and friendship may only extend so far. Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo), who was ousted as chair of the House ethics committee after admonishing Delay, said that even loyal Republicans might tire of the scrutiny of a long investigation.
"In politics," he said, "loyalty fades quickly if they sense there's blood in the water, and DeLay is walking a very thin line."
(Cue Jaws music)
Meanwhile in Florida…Dale M. King of the Boca Raton News writes that 2006 Congressional hopeful Ron Klein is calling for Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL) to give back $30,000 in campaign contributions he has received from Delay. Shaw has contributed $5,000 to Delay’s legal defense fund.
Klein has also asked Shaw to answer several questions: “Will he return the contributions he received from DeLay? Why did he use contributions raised in Florida to help fund DeLay’s embattled legal defense? Would he support Mr. DeLay as majority leader if the vote where held today? And, will he continue to support Tom DeLay’s right wing political agenda?”
Shaw did not respond.
Independence Doesn’t Equal Money
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) might be getting a little hot under the collar. Ari Melbar writes in today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Reichert was elected last year by 5 percent by running as an independent thinker and distancing himself from national Republicans. He seems to have quickly forgotten his independent streak in Delay’s Congress, voting initially to gut ethics rules to protect Delay – a vote which earned him a spot on the Leader’s Top Ten Fundraising list and $150,000.
Harvard Weighs In
Editors at the Harvard Crimson are calling for Delay to resign. In a Monday editorial, they write that in the face of mounting concerns and allegations, Delay is more trouble for the Republican Party that he’s worth.
“If they are wise, GOP leaders will press for DeLay to be replaced by someone who can restore integrity to the Republican Party and earn the trust of the American people.”