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Delay Outlines Agenda


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Nov. 6, 2004, 2:37AM

DeLay outlines agenda

House majority leader calls ethics issues 'frivolous'


Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay returned to Washington Friday and, buoyed by President Bush's re-election and a larger Republican majority in Congress next session, invited Democrats "that actually want to govern" to join him in pushing through a conservative agenda.

In an interview Friday with the Chronicle three days after winning his 11th term, the Republican from Sugar Land suggested he will shepherd legislation supported by religious conservatives who helped deliver election-day success to the GOP.

"To the same extent the House has been the leader on all these issues, whether they be pro-life, pornography, religious freedom, marriage, all of these issues will be in play," DeLay said.

But when GOP lawmakers meet later this month to re-elect DeLay to the party's No. 2 House leadership post, Democrats will likely resurrect lingering ethics issues that overshadowed DeLay before the election.

The House ethics panel is expected to outline new guidelines on fund-raising and proper uses of political power in the wake of three recent admonishments it issued against DeLay.

The House committee cited DeLay for pressuring a fellow Republican to vote for Medicare legislation, for fund-raising activities that gave the appearance of impropriety and for trying to use his influence with the Federal Aviation Administration to track Texas Democrats during redistricting battles.

In Austin, a Travis County grand jury continues to investigate allegations that a committee founded by DeLay funneled illegal corporate donations to state legislative candidates. Three DeLay associates have been indicted in the case.

Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court has asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a Texas redistricting case.

DeLay engineered the new congressional boundaries opposed by Democrats that led to the lawsuit.

Proceed without regrets

But DeLay said he will proceed with no regrets.

"The election proved that my constituents, No. 1, understand what this is all about, which is a strategy of personal destruction. And they rejected it," DeLay said of the ethics grievances leveled against him.

"All of this stuff is frivolous and it has been proven to be frivolous. If there is anything else ongoing, it will also be found to be frivolous," he said.

At the same time, DeLay said the ethics committee should further examine the ethics complaint against him filed by Rep. Chris Bell, D-Houston, because it was not supported by evidence. After his district was redrawn, Bell lost in the primary.

"It's in the best interest of the institution to look at Chris Bell and his frivolous charges and the process by which he brought the frivolous charges, using the ethics committee for his political gain," DeLay said.

DeLay won 55 percent of the vote in a district that was slightly redrawn. The margin was below the 63 percent he won in 2002, but still enough to claim a solid victory against those who portray him as a polarizing figure in Washington.

In addition, the GOP added two seats to its House majority, in part because of his redistricting plan in Texas. The GOP also gained four seats in the Senate.

While Democrats used DeLay's ethics admonishments against some GOP congressional candidates as a symbol of "corrupt" Republican leadership on Capitol Hill, they had "absolutely zero impact," said Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Reputation needs rebuilding

But DeLay may need to pay more attention to that while some of these issues are still in play, said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University.

"He is certainly aware he has some reputation rebuilding he needs to do," Jillson said. DeLay's leadership status is not threatened, but "he does not want to take any more hits in the near term," Jillson added.

Looking at the partisan divide, DeLay said one of his first acts in the new Congress would be "to try to rebuild" the entire Texas delegation into the powerful caucus it was years ago.

But, echoing Bush's mandate declaration, DeLay also made it clear that cooperation would have to happen on Republican terms.

"Those that want to work with us, we will be happy to work with them," DeLay said of Democrats.


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For the most part, Europeans are correct, we are a nation of morons.

Far too many people simply vote for a person because of their party affiliation. I have a feeling you could put Bubbles (Michael Jackson's monkey) in a suit, teach him a few key phrases (God Bless America, defend marriage from the homosexual agenda, and I will fight the liberal media), call him a republican, and he'd win the hearts and minds of the good folks in Sugar Land!

Of course, what do we expect when 50% of Americans think Entertainment Tonight is a hard-hitting news program.

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  • 3 months later...

DeLay Moves To Protect His Political Base Back in Texas

By Mike Allen

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, March 3, 2005; Page A01

SUGAR LAND, Tex. -- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), struggling to protect his Washington power base as legal and ethical issues fester, also has to watch his back on the home front.

Though the change has received little notice, DeLay's strength in his suburban Houston congressional district of strip malls and housing developments has eroded considerably -- forcing him to renew his focus on protecting his seat.

DeLay garnered 55 percent of the vote in the November election against a relatively unknown Democrat, an unusually modest showing for a veteran House member who is one of the most powerful politicians in Washington. Some Republican officials and DeLay supporters worry that with President Bush absent from the top of the ticket next year, liberal interest groups might target the conservative majority leader and spend millions of dollars on campaign ads to try to defeat him.

The outspoken and hard-charging DeLay, 57, got into trouble last year when the House ethics committee admonished him three times and three of his Texas associates were indicted by a Travis County grand jury on charges of illegal fundraising related to a controversial redistricting plan that DeLay helped push through the state legislature. Testimony began this week in a civil case brought in Austin by five Democrats who allege that a political action committee begun by DeLay improperly spent about $600,000 in corporate contributions to implement the plan and unseat them.

House Republican leaders responded to DeLay's problems by changing rules and tightening their control over the ethics committee, to discourage future cases against DeLay and other GOP members. National conservative groups rallied to DeLay's side. DeLay has denied any wrongdoing.

But DeLay now has to worry about "Texas 22," the congressional district he has represented for the past 21 years in the U.S. House. Ironically, the Texas redistricting plan he engineered over strong Democratic objections drained some vital Republican support and could make it tougher for him to win reelection. In his old district, DeLay took 60 percent of the vote in 2000 and 63 percent in 2002.

In 2003, at DeLay's behest, the Texas legislature redrew the state's congressional lines without waiting for the next census (in 2010), the customary occasion for redistricting. With the new districts, which still face court challenges, Texas elected five additional Republicans to the U.S. House last November, accounting for all of the party's net gain.

DeLay's new district wound up several percentage points less Republican than his previous one, and it has a substantial and growing Asian American population.

"When you're drawing the lines, you have to set the example," DeLay explained late last week as he traveled his district during the Presidents' Day recess. "If you're going to maximize the number of Republicans that are elected, everybody can't have an 80 percent district. If you're the guy that's sort of leading the effort, you can't tell your members, 'Well, I'm going to dilute yours, but I'm going to pack mine.' "

"In doing all that, we tried to be as fair to everybody as possible," he added. "And I had to take my hit, too."

So when the House is tackling what DeLay calls the most ambitious agenda since Republicans took control a decade ago, he has to worry about getting face time with local officials and with business owners who turn out for Chamber of Commerce dinners in the 30 percent of his district that is new.

Democrats are chortling about his possible weakness. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said he is happy that DeLay is "meeting some real people instead of just K Street lobbyists."

"Maybe he'll find out the people actually like Social Security," Emanuel said.

In January, DeLay shook up his team of political consultants. He signed on Sam Dawson, who was a top political aide to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and helped devise the Republican strategy for taking over the House in 1994. Dawson will serve as his general consultant and media strategist.

The majority leader is also opening a second office this spring, in his new territory of Webster.

DeLay is getting to know his new constituents in places such as Clear Lake, Pasadena and League City at a time when he is being bombarded with unwelcome attention and damaging publicity. Lesley Stahl of CBS's "60 Minutes" questioned DeLay about legal issues last month when he was trying to talk about tsunami relief, and she interviewed Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who is conducting the grand jury that indicted DeLay's three associates.

Last week, the National Journal reported that DeLay, his wife, Christine, and close aides had traveled the world with Jack Abramoff, who once was one of the Republican Party's most powerful lobbyists and now is facing criminal and congressional investigations for millions of dollars in fees he received from casino-operating Indian tribes seeking to influence the federal government. The magazine reported that the National Center for Public Policy Research, which had Abramoff as a board member, paid for DeLay's trips in 2000 to Scotland and London, where he stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel, and to Russia in 1997.

DeLay's staff said he reported the trips on his financial disclosure forms and did work at each stop, meeting with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, speaking to Scotland's Conservative Caucus and pushing for religious freedom in Moscow.

The congressman, asked about the trips in a meeting with reporters Tuesday, said: "We reported that in the travel disclosure form, as we are supposed to do." He said the group "paid for the trip and we disclosed it, like we are supposed to do."

DeLay asserts that here in Sugar Land, a former plantation that became a company town for sugar growers and refiners, none of that matters anyway. This is the area where he ran a pest-control business before being elected to the Texas House in 1978 on a platform of cutting taxes and regulations.

"People walk up to me," DeLay said, "and say, 'Well, it looks like they're after you again. You hang in there. We know who you are. We know what you're trying to do, and you're doing the right things. We're with you. We're praying for you. Just keep at it.' That makes me feel good. That's why I love coming home every week, because I get out of Washington, D.C., and come down to real people that know what I'm trying to do."

Here, DeLay is the guy who lives in the $400,000 cookie-cutter brick house, has two fluffy white lap dogs and keeps an office with the understated sign "Tom DeLay, Member of Congress."

Houston Mayor Bill White, former chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said DeLay was "ruthless" on redistricting but has been cooperative in getting money for the area and has moved to make amends with corporate leaders he alienated with his opposition to funding for light rail instead of buses.

Indeed, DeLay is greeted as a sugar daddy almost everywhere he goes here. During a symposium DeLay attended last week at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, he was repeatedly saluted in the speeches and PowerPoint presentations for the federal funds he had helped arrange for the school's Center for Biosecurity and Public Health Preparedness, which bills itself as "improving our nation's health security."

Edd Hendee, who owns the Taste of Texas restaurant in Houston, teaches a Bible study class that DeLay attends at a local Baptist church, and said the other members love to tease the big shot. "Like they'll have the top 10 reasons not to be late to class: 'You don't want to walk in with Congressman DeLay and have his two thugs frisk you outside,' " Hendee said. "It's a hoot. He'll shoot back something like, 'I can arrange a private frisking for you.' "

Richard Morrison, a lawyer and environmentalist who was DeLay's opponent in November, has begun raising money online to run again, using the slogan "real Texas values."

And DeLay is working his district like a freshman. One night last week he took the microphone at the Sugar Land Exchange Club spaghetti cook-off and, joshing about fast-talking politicians who want to take your money, spent 11 minutes auctioning a charity golf package and two other lots.

"I've got $650," he chanted, showing off skills he says he learned in a correspondence course more than 25 years ago. "Make it a seven. $700? $700. Seven and a half? Whoa! Seven and a half. New blood! Thank you. It's a steal for seven and a half. You got it, sir. It's all yours. $750!"

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Totally agree Kinkaidalum. Michael Moore could register as a Republican, say he goes to church, say he's against abortion, and say he's against gay marriage, and he would probably get republican votes. Such as shame so many Americans seem to have lost the ability to look at the WHOLE picture.

As a Christian myself, what surprises me is Tom Delay knows some of his actions are unethical and knows he has ulterior motives in many of his decisions, yet he still publically claims Christianity. I think it's time for him to stop and ask himself if Jesus would do some of the things he finds himself doing.

I now live in Ft. Bend County, so this is one more vote against him.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Totally agree Kinkaidalum. Michael Moore could register as a Republican, say he goes to church, say he's against abortion, and say he's against gay marriage, and he would probably get republican votes. Such as shame so many Americans seem to have lost the ability to look at the WHOLE picture.

As a Christian myself, what surprises me is Tom Delay knows some of his actions are unethical and knows he has ulterior motives in many of his decisions, yet he still publically claims Christianity. I think it's time for him to stop and ask himself if Jesus would do some of the things he finds himself doing.

I now live in Ft. Bend County, so this is one more vote against him.

Same here, I really question his actions. It really bothers me what the state Republicans did when they redrew the boundaries. It was obvious that Delay played a huge part in it. It just showed greed, and how they pursued the Democrats was just ridiculous.

Second, Delay had opposed millions of dollars in Congress funding for rail transportation, allowing it to go to others. He's supposed to represent the needs of Houstonians and area.

As a Christian, I want to vote for someone with similar values. But I couldn't find information about who he really is and his positions in detail in the 2004 election. And obviously, I can't truly tell if a person is genuine or just taking those stands for political support. I voted for his opponet.

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I too voted against DeLay during the period when my address was in his district (it bounced several times between his district and Culberson's, who I also voted against).

What really makes me mad is how this man has grandstanded in the past over ridiculous things like his daughter who was so horrified to discover when she went off to college that kids were drinking and having sex and the like. That got major coverage on the news at the time! And yet the man has obvious ethical issues. And sometimes he's quite un-Christian when he starts talking about people who disagree with him. Despite all his public statements about his faith and conservative values, he's one of the most arrogant, egotistical politicians in the country, and he will stop at nothing to bully others into helping him get his way. I don't know what brand of Christianity he is such a believer in, because it certainly doesn't sound like he learned any of the lessons I was taught in church as a kid.

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April 4, 2005, 12:01PM

DeLay spokesman rebuffs critical poll

Nearly 40% of likely voters in sample have a less favorable view of him, survey says


Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has earned support in his Houston-area district because of his principles, a spokesman said Sunday in a terse response to a Houston Chronicle poll about the Republican congressman and his constituents.

In the Chronicle poll, conducted late last week and published Sunday, nearly 40 percent of 501 likely voters in his district said their opinion of DeLay is less favorable than last year, compared with 11 percent who said their view of him has improved.

A DeLay aide pointed out that the congressman from Sugar Land has been elected with solid support for two decades.

"(Voters) do that because he's getting things done for the area. He's also earned their support because they know he's guided by principles, not polls," spokesman Dan Allen said.

But Republican DeLay's constituents seem to be rebuffing his frequent assertion that they support his actions leading Congress to intervene in the Terri Schiavo controversy. The brain-damaged Florida woman died last week.

Nearly 69 percent of people in the poll, including substantial majorities of Democrats and Republicans, said they opposed the government's intervention in the case.

Nearly 58 percent were critical of DeLay's leading role in spurring Congress to pass a special law to get a federal court review of Schiavo's parents' attempts to have her feeding tube kept in place. It was removed at the request of her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, and judges, including those on the U.S. Supreme Court, declined to intervene despite the new law.

Allen said DeLay would not be available Sunday to comment on the poll, in which 45 percent of respondents said they would vote for someone other than DeLay if the 22nd Congressional District election were to be held soon. DeLay was re-elected to an 11th two-year term in November 2004.

Half of the respondents gave DeLay a somewhat or very favorable rating, and 38 percent said they would vote for him again.

DeLay is in the midst of a difficult year. He was admonished three times by the House ethics committee and faces questions about the financial backing for some of his overseas trips. Also, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, is investigating the political fund-raising tactics of a political action committee that DeLay helped set up.

In the survey, conducted by Zogby International, 53 percent of the respondents said they are Republicans, a third identified themselves as Democrats and the rest are independents, except for one Libertarian.

DeLay has argued that his morals guided him in the case of Schiavo. But nearly half of those polled said he intervened in the case for political gain.

Party affiliation played a significant role in this result, with an overwhelming majority of Democrats doubting his motives.

DeLay has said the media have treated him unfairly.

However, slightly more of his constituents, 46 percent, said the news coverage has been fair. Forty percent said that reports about DeLay have been unfair.

Poll respondents split along party lines on the issue of DeLay's ethics, with about one in 10 Republicans and nearly seven in 10 Democrats considering him unethical.


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