DeLay’s chronic disregard and disrespect of the law continues

Today’s decision by a Texas state judge ruling against a political committee of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) is further evidence that DeLay must resign his leadership post in Congress and that the House Ethics Committee must appoint an outside counsel to investigate allegations of wrongdoing that have been raised against him in Washington.

“This makes it crystal clear that TRMPAC broke the law by illegally using corporate money in state legislative races,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “Tom DeLay, as the advisor, creator and fundraiser of TRMPAC, raised the money that was illegally spent. It defies credibility that he did not know how it was spent.”

But more troubling is that this yet another example of Tom DeLay’s complete disregard and disrespect for the rule of law. “Yet Republicans continue to coddle and hold him up as their leader. Does America really want a man with a chronic disregard and disrespect of the law as a leader of Congress and this country? If House leadership was serious about advocating for moral values, it would immediately demand DeLay step down,” Pingree said.

The decision by State District Judge Joe Hart comes about seven months after the House Ethics Committee three times last year admonished DeLay for conduct that included improper political use of his office, creating at least the appearance that energy executives got special access at a political fundraiser and for offering political favors in exchange for a vote on the Medicare bill. In 1999, he was admonished for pressuring a trade association to hire a Republican as its top lobbyist.

This decision in Texas also only makes it more important that the House Ethics Committee appoints an independent, outside counsel to review allegations that DeLay took at least three illegally funded foreign junkets, as well as review his ties to a lobbyist under federal criminal investigation for allegedly bilking his Indian tribe clients out of millions of dollars.

DeLay’s financial ties to many House Republicans, as well as his reputation for doling our political favors, makes it impossible for his House colleagues to sit in judgement of him. “The only way the allegations against him here in Washington can be credibly resolved is through an outside counsel,” Pingree said.