WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released the following statement regarding the decision reached by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct on the actions of Majority Leader Tom DeLay (TX):
“Sixteen years ago, a little-known Republican congressman from Georgia declared: ‘A corrupt House of Representatives threatens the freedom and liberty of every American. Unlike corrupt city governments or state legislatures, a corrupt U.S. House poses a special danger because it oversees the FBI, the IRS and the CIA.’
“And six years later, when the Republican majority in this House elected that Georgia congressman, Newt Gingrich, to be the Speaker, they promised in their ‘Contract With America’ to end what they called ‘a cycle of scandal and disgrace.’
“Like their pledge of balanced budgets, tax simplification and procedural fairness in the people’s House, that promise lies in tatters – unobserved and dishonored.
“As Joe Scarborough, the former conservative Republican congressman from Florida, confessed two weeks ago: ‘we lied.’ Not once. Not twice. But three times in the last five years – including twice in the last week – the Republican Leader has been rebuked by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for his conduct. He is the person who has been chosen by the House majority to be their leader and principal spokesman.
“Yet, Mr. DeLay’s defiant and deliberately misleading statements last night show nothing but contempt for the ethics process and the high ethical standards that the American people want their political leaders to observe and respect.
“Let no one here be mistaken: the latest ethics charges against Mr. DeLay were not ‘dismissed,’ as Mr. DeLay incorrectly claims. He was rebuked in each of the allegations on which the Committee acted.
“And the Committee deferred action on a third – the allegation that he illegally collected corporate contributions and funneled them to Texas legislative races – because three of his top political aides currently face state criminal charges in that episode.
“Isolated incidents may be rationalized and minimized, but consistent patterns are powerful proof of corrupt practices. Let me count the ways:
1. K street intimidation.
2. Trying to block a trade association from hiring a Democrat, an action that earned Mr. DeLay an ethics rebuke in 1999.
3. Maintaining ties with a top Republican lobbyist and former Tom DeLay staffer, who are under investigation for bilking tribal casino clients for an astronomical $66 million.
4. Million-dollar job offers to chairs of committees providing billion dollar payments to those same interests.
5. Threatening adverse action to industries that refuse to fire or demote Democratic employees.
“This Republican Congress has focused on its political hammer while ignoring its policy responsibilities. No budget. No budget enforcement. No intelligence reform. No energy bill. No transportation bill. No higher education bill. No welfare reform. This is not the leadership the American people expect and deserve.
“Too often democracy and honest government have been undercut by those who believe their political ends justify whatever means they employ to obtain them. The Republican majority today has repeatedly demonstrated such a pattern of conduct.
“Twelve years ago, a Republican member took to the House floor and stated: ‘When someone is in power for an inordinate amount of time, then this kind of oversight, this kind of corruption, if you will, continues and builds upon itself and sort of feeds on itself.’
“Two years later, that same member stated: ‘We need to clean our own House for the sake of the institution.’ That member was Tom DeLay. It is time for the American people to clean this House.”