Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: DeLay Rule Reversed

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

DeLay Rule Reversed


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas got fellow Republicans on Monday to reverse a recent rule change that would have allowed him to keep his leadership post even if indicted.

They also moved to make it more difficult for the House ethics committee to investigate a complaint against any member.

Republicans applauded behind closed doors as they approved on a voice vote DeLay's motion to revert to their decade-old rule that requires a leader indicted of a felony to step aside, said spokesman Jonathan Grella.

Democrats accused Republicans of lowering the ethical bar for leadership when House Republicans on Nov. 17 changed their rules to allow DeLay to keep his post if indicted.

This was a little surprising to me when I read about it this morning. I tend to think that power in the hands of the few and single-minded corrupts at an exponential level regardless of their political affiliation, but it seems as if the House Republicans are trying to slow the inevitable spiral of malfeasance -- at least when the issue becomes public.

Now when this Congress decides legislation should be openly debated and not fast-tracked in late night, closed-door partisan committees, I will eat my hat. The reversal of this ridiculous rule may be a way for lawmakers to slow their party's overstepping of rules, but with Bill Frist's "nuclear option" on the horizon and the silencing of honest debate concerning judicial nominees, it's clear that you can only tread water for so long until you're sucked into the maelstrom of consolidated power and corruption.