Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Democrats Know DeLay Won't Step Down Without a Fight

Source: John Byrne: Raw Story

Democratic House leader fields press on new DeLay charges

Dems don't expect DeLay to step down without a fight

By John Byrne | RAW STORY Editor

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) fielded questions this morning from the press regarding the latest series of scandals hounding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), the transcript of which will be released later today. Pelosi's press secretary detailed the congresswoman's positions to RAW STORY this afternoon, and said discussion of Pelosi's own travel arrangements were an attempt to "muddy the water."

Jennifer Crider, Pelosi's press secretary, emphasized that the matter of the charges were one that must be taken up by the House Ethics Committee.

Last year, the Republican-controlled Ethics Committee rebuked DeLay. He opted to remove the three members who had voted against him, thus rendering it nearly impossible for the committee to objectively review charges against him.

"There’s no Committee and its been completely gutted by the Republicans," Crider said. "What the Republicans are saying are that we’re completely above the law. They shouldn’t be shooting themselves in the foot—they should be upholding high ethical standards.”

At the press conference, Pelosi said she had not read the new charges against DeLay. Asked about DeLay's statement that he didn't know who footed the bill for their trips, Crider said Pelosi stressed that it wasn't about the trips.

“It’s not about a trip, it’s about a pattern of behavior,” Crider said.

Will DeLay continue to have support from the Republican Party?

“That’s a question for the Republican conference," Crider said, "that insists on continually saying that they are willing to tolerate low ethical standards, and not only tolerate it, but change the rules to protect low ethical standards.”

On Wednesday, the conservative Washington Times reported that a Pelosi adviser took a trip paid for by an organization who had given to her political action committee. What they didn't report is that a Republican member not only supported the funding, but sent two staff members on the same trip.

“They’re trying to muddy the waters, that trip was completely within bounds," Crider remarked.

"What I found extremely interesting," she added, "was that the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Jerry Lewis supported that funding, sent two staffers on that same trip, and also received a political contribution from the gentleman referenced.”

House Republicans rallied behind DeLay Wednesday after two new stories raised new ethics questions.

"I don't see any wavering of the support for the leader," House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) told the Associated Press. "I think a lot of members think he's taking arrows for all of us."

One veteran Democratic aide said there was no expectation that DeLay would resign without a fight.

“I think that he’s going to continue to be defiant and going to continue to blame this on the [media]," the aide said, "but this is all clearly being brought on by himself, the one who took this trip.”

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