Rep. Tom DeLay Is Ethically Unfit to Lead Congress and Must Resign as Majority Leader

Common Cause calls on Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) to step down immediately as the majority leader of the House of Representatives after the Ethics Committee twice admonished him in a week for improper conduct on three separate matters. He also has a third black mark on his record from 1999, when the panel admonished him for yet another matter.

“Rep. DeLay is unquestionably ethically unfit to serve as a leader of the people’s House,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “America has higher standards than to let someone with his track record lead an institution as prestigious as our Congress.”

Common Cause is disappointed with the Ethics Committee’s decision not adhere to its own established precedent of appointing an outside counsel to investigate, as it did in the cases of former House speakers Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and James Wright (D-TX). And we have difficultly understanding how the committee can find Rep. DeLay guilty of repeated improprieties, and then respond each time by simply slapping him on the wrist.

However, we commend the Ethics Committee for showing serious concern over the pattern of Rep. DeLay’s ethical violations, as expressed in an extraordinarily sharply worded letter to the majority leader that warned him that such future actions would not be tolerated.

Common Cause today is launching a major nationwide petition drive to collect thousands of signatures in support of Rep. Delay stepping down from his leadership position. Americans will not tolerate his blatant and repeated disregard for Congressional ethics rules.