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Former Majority Leader DeLay To Resign, Drops Out of Re-Election Contest

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In a stunning about-face, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) has decided to drop out of his race for re-election, according to the Washington Post, and will leave Congress before November, perhaps by the end of May, according to Time.

Depending on Texas replacement rules, a Republican could be appointed to complete his term and then run as an incumbent. Given how coy DeLay sounded in his Time interview — “we don’t have to choose from my primary opponents” — this is the plan.

The rise to the fall of Tom DeLay is not unlike that of Former Majority Leader Newt Gingrich, who some say is considering a run for the presidency in 2008. [He has recently authored a book, often an early step.] However, DeLay sounds like he plans to take a more prominent public position than Gingrich did.

Key Aide Pled Guilty Friday
DeLay handily won his Republican primary in March. But on Friday, Tony C. Rudy (39), the former Majority Leader’s ex-deputy chief of staff, pled guilty to conspiracy and corruption on actions taken on behalf of Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist at the heart of a Capitol corruption investigation.

Rudy accepted at least $86,000 from Abramoff while employed by DeLay. And although he reportedly did not implicate DeLay on Friday, the San Jose Mercury News reports that he “finger[ed] his ex-boss – DeLay’s former chief of staff Ed Buckham – as playing a role in the congressional bribery scandal.”

Shifting Gears
DeLay, a born-again Christian, told Time that he believes he can accomplish his political goals outside of Congress, suggesting an evangelical role is in the cards:

“[T]his country was built on morals and religion… There is a connection between religion and politics, and religion and government… The people that go to church understand that a country has to be based on some sort of religion and fear of God because they understand that.”

“Abortion on demand is still in this country, and I want to end abortion as we know it,” he continued. He also talked about replacing the income tax with a “fair tax,” “culture wars” and the “attack” on the American family. He also took a swipe at Ronnie Earle, repeating his claim that his Texas indictment is “a political hit job.”

Second DeLay Aide Caught
Rudy is the second DeLay insider to be caught in the fallout from Abramoff’s deals. In November, Michael Scanlon, an ex-aide who became Abramoff’s lobbying partner, turned state’s evidence.

The Houston Chronicle reports that another DeLay aide, Emily Miller, “has been cooperating with federal investigators as they bring down DeLay aides in what may be a tightening of the net around the former majority leader himself.”

In October, another Abramoff associate, David Safavian, General Services Administration (GSA) chief of staff from May 2002 – January 2004, was indicted in connection with lying and obstructing investigations into Abramoff’s activities.

Representatives Ditch Donations
The Hill reports that 13 House Republicans “already have returned or plan to return contributions they took” from Rudy. Since 2001, The Hill reports that Rudy gave $48,500 “to four members of leadership, two committee chairmen and then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), Rudy’s boss from 1995 to 2000.”

Abramoff was sentenced last week to five years and 10 months in prison for business fraud unrelated to this case.

About Kathy

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    Captain K-Street does not need to be in the public sector. His corruption will be better rewarded in the Private sector.

    Paragraphs like this scare me: “[T]his country was built on morals and religion… There is a connection between religion and politics, and religion and government… The people that go to church understand that a country has to be based on some sort of religion and fear of God because they understand that.”

    Granted one shouldn’t be *afraid* of religion or some reference thereto, but this suggests a much stronger relationship than I’m ready to endorse.

    Bye bye Tom!!!

  • Nancy

    It’s about time he gave in to GOP collegues’ pleas to quit, but I don’t think it has anything to do with him feeling bad for his constituents. DeLay is planning an Abramoff: he’s quitting in order to dedicate his life to “good deeds” (for a few months at least) so that when he is sentenced, like Abramoff he can garner all kinds of gushing letters about what a wonderful, humanitarian fella he is, thereby getting the minimum sentence, just like his pal Jack. There is no sincerity in Tom DeLay, unless it’s for his fondness for the slime that is his natural setting. His guile is as endless as his greed for power.

  • MCH

    Another chicken haw….oops, that term is banned…how about, another hypocrite bites the dust.

  • RogerMDillon

    Too bad, I say. That just means now he’ll become a lobbyist and work more behind the scenes. It’s much better when these slugs have to work in the daylight.

  • Nancy

    The irony is, I suspect if he really, Really believed in God, he’d be shivering under the bed, ’cause God can’t be “spun” & DeLay surely has a lot to answer for. More than most.

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ A.G.

    Nancy, just tell me what DeLay was doing that the rest of politicians aren’t doing.

  • Nancy

    Not a blessed thing; but we were talking about DeLay, hence I didn’t mention that every single one of them should be in mortal fear, Dem & GOP both – IF they really believed as they keep claiming they do.

  • Joey

    Someone in a position of authority within the party must have said something akin to “make him an offer he can’t refuse”

    The ramifications of such a “suggestion” must have unhinged the insufferable TW@. Excuse me ladies.

    I used to be in a rage/punk band called TW@ I just can’t get past the coolness of that moniker.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I shed no tears for Delay, who was a sleazy bastard. It does trouble me that he was basically done in by a smear campaign with too littl evidence to mount a real court case, though. The reign of terror of Ronnie Earle needs to come to an end.

    Dave

  • http://uspolitics.about.com/ Kathy

    Dave – what makes you think this was the Texas indictment? There’s been nothing new there — but Rudy pled guilty on *Friday* then DeLay decides to resign on Monday. It seems far more likely to be linked to Abramoff, IMO.

    RE lobbying — lobbying in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. However, the way $ is being thrown around makes me shiver. Plus, the Senate effectively said “pay attention to our words, not our deeds” with their (in)action last week.:-/

  • Justin Berry

    It seems likely to me that O.J. and M.J. were guilty,IMO.

    IMO doesnt get convictions but in the casr of Earle it gets indictments.I have yet to hear of any of Delays aides rolling over on him, but Im sure Earle will see to it that they do.

    Tom Delay is a sleazy politician, no doubt. Surely, Earle could have found something to indict him on other than this shop job.

  • Bliffle

    Good riddance. Too bad it wasn’t years ago before he did as much damage as he did. Just look, now poor AG must induce himself to believe that ALL politicians are as bad as DeLay in order not to diminish his worship of the man. Sad, sad, sad.

  • Joey

    I had never considered that DeLay thought himself a contender. I never thought he had any real power on the hill. I never thought about him period, even during those rugged days which fostered his departure.

    Am I out of the loop?