Delay leads in a House of scoundrels

As the mantra in the House goes, “Thieves in need are friends indeed.”

So much for the “Republican revolution” of the 1990s and its promise to run a more ethical congress. Last week, House Republicans changed a party rule that might have forced House Majority Leader Rep. Tom Delay, R-Texas, to step down. There are exceptions to the law and they are the lawmakers.

In September, Texas grand jurors indicted three of Delay’s colleagues and eight corporations for alleged corporate contributions to a political action committee connected to Delay. It’s likely Delay, too, will be indicted, and under the old Republican party rule, he would have to give up his leadership position. Now that the rules have changed, a committee would review violations on a case-by-case basis. In other words, Delay is off the hook as friends will help friends.

No wonder the House of Representatives consistently receives approval ratings well below those of the Senate and the president. The House of Representatives might as well be called the House of Scoundrels. As the mantra in the house goes, “Thieves in need are friends indeed.” Delay exemplifies the dirty politician who steals democracy from the electorate by redrawing district lines and gladly swallowing corporate donations.

Granted, people are innocent until proven guilty, but when rules require a person to step down because of an indictment, they should do so. The rules change was a policy of pre-emption because investigations are getting very close to Delay. Delay’s history doesn’t bode well for him, as he was cited for ethics violations in 1999 and three in the last year. His reputation as an ultrapartisan hitman doesn’t bode well either.

Meanwhile, the House Democrats are playing games too, saying they will stiffen their leadership rules. This offers little solace to the U.S. public when it is so clear that rules and standards in the House are made up as they go. Our democracy deserves better. The U.S. people deserve better.