Tom DeLay, the Republican House Majority Leader, must be held accountable for accepting money and trips from corporate lobbyists, providing illegal campaign contributions to Texas politicians and threatening members of the U.S. courts. One of the most serious charges against DeLay is that he accepted paid trips from corporate lobbyists, violating House rules.Jack Abramoff, a registered Washington lobbyist under investigation by the federal authorities and Senate committee, funded several of the trips DeLay took in the last few years. For instance, in May and early June of 2000, the airfare of a trip DeLay took was charged to the credit card of Abramoff, the Washington Post reported.
There are also several other allegations that DeLay accepted paid trips by corporate lobbyists and broke House rules. According to the Washington Post, DeLay took a trip to Moscow in 1997, which may have been funded by business groups lobbying for the Russian government.
There are also charges against DeLay that he accepted golf outings in London and Scotland from lobbyists and business groups. DeLay is also under investigation by the HouseEthics Committee for allegedly laundering money to Texas political campaigns in 2002. According to a memorandum written to members of the House Ethics Committee, DeLay used his political action committee to spread corporate money to state campaigns. If he did use his political committee to fund political campaigns in Texas, then he violated state law.
Besides accepting paid trips from corporate lobbyists and corruptly funding Texas politicians, it has also been reported that DeLay has funneled money to his family. Since 2001, DeLay?s political committees and campaigns have paid his daughter and wife more than $500,000, the New York Times reported in April.
DeLay is also being scrutinized for the comments about U.S. courts he made after Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who was brain damaged and on a feeding tube, died. The courts ruled that the feeding tube should not be given to Schiavo again, and the ruling infuriated DeLay. When she eventually passed away, DeLay publicly condemned and threatened the courts. “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior,” DeLay said on March 31, 2005 after Schiavo?s death, according to the U.S. Newswire.
As a Congressperson, DeLay does not have the right to crack down on the courts or threaten them. Across the country, the courts act to check and balance the other branches of government, and are especially important today since Republicans control the House, Senate and White House.
The House Ethics Committee must conduct a serious investigation of Tom DeLay. As House Majority Leader, he has accepted paid trips from lobbyists, given his family thousands of dollars, violated his state?s law by funding Texas political campaigns and threatened the U.S. judicial system.
If DeLay does not step down as House Majority Leader and end his political career, then voters in Texas should end his career in 2006 when he will be running for reelection. DeLay is a crooked, shameless politician who is abusing power.
Brian Fanelli is a junior majoring in comparative literature with minors in creative writing and journalism.