House Democrats may file an ethics complaint if Republican congressional leaders do not open an investigation into whether bribes were offered to win passage of the Medicare prescription drug bill,
House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) said. But House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said Democrats were trying to "throw mud" and end an unofficial ethics truce between the two parties that has lasted since the late 1990s. Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) said in November that "bribes and special deals" were offered to persuade members to vote for a bill to provide prescription drugs for Medicare recipients, but later backed off the bribery claim.