Friday, April 15, 2005

GOP House of Scandal

Thought provokiing piece by John Byrne of Raw Story who writes about a Democrat web site exposing DeLay's ongoing ethical shenanigans. Interesting that DeLay continues to foment trouble for federal and state judges......per an article in the NYT this morning.....

Dems ready fresh approach to bring color to ethics charges dogging GOP leader

By John Byrne | RAW STORY Staff

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a website that aims to bring new attention to ethics charges hounding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), RAW STORY has learned.

The site, named "House of Scandal," echoes a similar site launched by the Washington watchdog Citizens for Ethics earlier today. But the decision for the Democratic Party to back such a sharp online slap at the Republican leader marks a new strategy by the party to add interactivity to a series of scandals dogging the House Republican leader that have often been too complex for the average voter.

In a bold move, the Democratic campaign committee has also replaced their own website with the DeLay-themed extravaganza.

Perhaps most significantly, the site attempts to tie the entire membership of the House Republican caucus to their embattled leader. Residents of any district will be able to pull up a listing for their congressmember (if he or she is a Republican) and see statements and contributions related to DeLay.

"House of Scandal" adds sounds and interactivity to a series of ethics scandals, some of which have resulted in DeLay being rebuked by his colleagues.

On the site, DeLay's image is surrounded by some of his past associates that the congressman has sought to distance himself from, many of whom are being investigated or face charges of illegal campaign activity. When a cursor centers over DeLay's image, the visitor hears the sound of shattered glass; when browsing over the images of his associates—including fallen lobbyists Jack Abramoff and former DeLay press secretary Michael Scanlon—a laser-like sound is heard.

In a conference call Thursday evening, Democratic Campaign Committee Chair Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (D-IL) said the site is aimed at being an "information resource catalog" to see "the connecting dots" between DeLay and other Republicans.
"Some members will have gotten caught in this nexus," Emmanuel said. "Those that did and got political nourishment from it—we'll make that known."

Privately, Democratic strategists say that they hope DeLay will hang on—saying that the longer DeLay remains in power, the more time the Party will have to tie his scandals to other members. This position was echoed today by the British magazine The Economist.

Many believe Democrats will pick up more House seats in the 2006 midterm elections if they can prove DeLay's relationships with other Republican congressmembers.

Asked if the new site represents a change in strategy, DCCC press secretary Sarah Feinberg demurred to answer directly.

"It's an attempt to break down the scandals, the abuses of power, and the ethics troubles in a database that is easily accessible," Feinberg said.

Earlier this week, according to The Hill, DeLay told a throng of reporters in a press briefing that he will not speak publicly about "anything but the legislative agenda."

If DeLay's right-hand man is right, Republican lawmakers won't peel away from DeLay anytime soon. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) is next in line to succeed DeLay should he be ousted, putting him in the tenuous position of defending DeLay and being ready to campaign for his spot should he be deposed.

"Tom DeLay is an effective leader," Blunt said Wednesday, "The members understand that. I think they have a lot of appreciation for that. And right now they're sticking with him."

On the Republican side of the aisle, only one member has called for his resignation; Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) called DeLay an "absolute embarassment" to the Republican Party.

Shays, a GOP centrist, stands alone in his call. Other Republicans—including Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Sen. Lincoln Chaffee (R-CT)—have said DeLay needs to answer questions, but have not gone so far as to suggest DeLay should resign.

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