WASHINGTON -- May 5 -- The House Ethics Committee must go further than just recusing from any potential investigation into Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) the participation of two Republican ethics members who have donated generously to DeLay's legal defense fund. It still must appoint an outside counsel to investigate DeLay since all three of the remaining Republican members of the ethics panel still have financial ties to DeLay.
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), the chairman of the committee, Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) have all accepted contributions from DeLay's political action committees. Hart alone has taken more than $15,000 from DeLay's PAC since 2000. Hastings has taken about $1,400 and Biggert, $1,764.
Hastings announced on Wednesday that Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Lamar Smith (R-TX) would "not take part in any action relating to Mr. DeLay," according to the New York Times. Smith had donated $10,000 to DeLay's legal defense fund, while Cole gave $5,000.
But given the remaining financial ties held by Hastings, Biggest and Hart, and the influence DeLay wields as the most powerful leader of the House, the only credible way an investigation can proceed is with an outside counsel.
Our supporters have already signed and sent in more than 10,000 petitions asking their congressional representatives to demand for an outside counsel to investigation the allegations against DeLay and other representatives. If you have not signed our petition yet, you can do so by clicking here today.