Note to Tom DeLay: If it takes 2540 words to explain why you didn’t do anything wrong, you’ve probably done something wrong.
UPDATE: Full rebuttal in today’s Progress Report.
Dear Friends and Supporters -
I want to thank all of you for your continued assistance and words of encouragement – your thoughts, prayers, and advice have been of great value to me as we continue to work on furthering the ideals of lowering taxes for all Americans, strengthening our homeland security, winning the war on terror, and moving our country’s economy forward.
It should come as no surprise that following the 2004 election-year attacks on the President that the Democrats, their syndicate of third party organizations (Common Cause, Public Citizen, Move-On, etc.) and the legion of Democrat-friendly press would turn their attention to trying to retake Congress. It is abundantly clear that their fundamental strategy revolves around attacking me and working to tear down Republican leadership.
Many of you have requested a “fact versus fiction briefing document” that can be shared via e-mail or in clubs, organizations, or groups you are affiliated with. It would be quite easy to write an entire book about how Democrats, and many in the press, have chosen to selectively report and strategically ignore many FACTS about me and my work as Congressman for the 22nd District.
Rather than run the laundry list of unfounded attacks, I thought it would be helpful to briefly outline some recent issues and provide you with information that tells the real story. I think when you see the consistent pattern of information that has been largely ignored or unreported it will help you dispel any other unsubstantiated allegations.
I am grateful to you and voters of the 22nd Congressional District for allowing me an opportunity to continue to serve you in Congress. The success we have had in electing other Republicans and passing legislation that is anathema to the 40 years Democrats controlled Congress is the main reason why these attacks are occurring.
As always, I thank you for your support, welcome your advice, and look forward to seeing you soon. Take care and God Bless.
WHAT THE PRESS ISN’T TELLING YOU:
Fact versus Fiction: The Left-wing “Case” Against Tom DeLay
Tom DeLay Has Never Been Found in Violation of Any Law by Anyone
- Tom DeLay does not stand accused of any violation of any law or rule in any forum and has never been found to have violated any law or rule by anyone.
- The Ethics Committee disposed of all matters but one (deferred at DeLay’s request)without sanction.
- Partisan DA Ronnie Earle has never even contacted Tom DeLay to appear as a witness.
Democrats and their Outside Front Groups are Colluding to Target DeLay
- Democrats have made clear that their only agenda is the politics of personal destruction, and the criminalization of politics.
- They hate Ronald Reagan conservatives like DeLay and they hate that he is an effective leader who succeeds in passing the Republican agenda.
- This demonization of DeLay is not new: in the months leading up to the 2000 general election, the DCCC filed a racketeering lawsuit against DeLay, which was ultimately dismissed with prejudice by a federal judge.
- The Democrats’ plan, and their collusion with Democrat front groups, is well known: “Breaking the ethics truce has been a high priority of good-government groups such as CREW, Public Citizen, Public Campaign, Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center and Judicial Watch. The groups convened a meeting a month ago where they discussed strategy and divvied up tasks aimed at breaking the truce. For example, Mary Boyle of Common Cause was tasked with researching how the House had policed recent allegations of misconduct. Craig Holman of Public Citizen accepted the challenge of finding a lawmaker to file a complaint against DeLay.” (The Hill, June 15, 2004, p. 1)
- So yet again another Democrat leader and campaign chair have embarked on a similar campaign to demonize DeLay to distract the voters from the fact they have no agenda to offer for America. DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel has announced that he intends to make ethical charges the touchstone of campaigns and would use several high-profile local races to create a national image of corruption in the GOP-controlled House.
The Ethics Committee Did Not Find that Tom DeLay Has Violated Any Rule
“The Bell Complaint”
The Committee dismissed two of the allegations Bell made against DeLay and deferred the third at his request.
- Dismissed Count I (Westar): “The information we obtained indicates that (1) neither Representative DeLay nor anyone acting on his behalf improperly solicited contributions from Westar, and (2) Representative DeLay took no action with regard to Westar that would constitute an impermissible special favor.” (Memo of Chairman Hefley, p. 2).
- Dismissed Count III (DOJ/FAA Contacts on TX Redistricting): “With regard to the (DeLay’s staff’s) contacts with the Justice Department, the information we have obtained indicates that they were not improper. Instead, they consisted of a straightforward inquiry on whether there was any legal basis for DOJ to intervene (in the matter of the absent Texas legislators).” (Memo of Chairman Hefley, p. 37).
- Deferred Count II (TRMPAC) (at DeLay’s request in accordance with Committee Rules when a matter is subject to regulatory or law enforcement review): “(W)hatever Representative DeLay’s role was in the TRMPAC activities challenged in Count II, his participation in those activities, if any, was not related to the discharge of his or her duties as a Member of the House.” (Memo of Chairman Hefley, p. 32).
“The Nick Smith Complaint”
Dismissed: “The issues raised by the conduct of the Majority Leader in this matter are novel in that conduct of this nature and the implications of such conduct have never before been addressed or resolved by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. Indeed, the Majority Leader’s testimony indicates that he did not believe he acted improperly under House rules during his encounter with Representative Nick Smith. In addition, the Investigative Subcommittee believes that the relevant facts related to the Majority Leader’s conduct-described in detail in this Report – already have been fully developed. In the view of the Investigative Subcommittee, these factors mitigate against further investigation and proceedings in this matter.” (Oct. 4, 2004 Report, p. 43).
An “Admonishment” is Not a Sanction
- Members, the media, and outside parties spun the “admonishments” as a formal sanction when it clearly was not any sanction.
- Sanctions can only be levied after Informal Information Gathering, Investigative Subcommittee, Adjudicatory subcommittee, and Sanction Hearing.
- Sanctions include expulsion, censure, reprimand, fine, and denial of rights.
- The Bell complaint was dismissed and never even went to the Investigative stage.
What the Committee DID Say to Tom DeLay: Moderate Your Future Behavior
- The Committee sent him two letters containing informal warnings to be careful in the future for what it admitted were cases of first impression.
- The verb “admonished” was used and is now exploited to mean some sort of sanction.
The Only Person Found by the Committee to Have Violated the Rules was Chris Bell
- The Committee stated that Bell’s “complaint violated Committee Rule 15(a)(4) in a number of respects. Because you personally signed this complaint and transmitted it directly to the Committee under Committee Rule 14(a)(1), you are responsible for the contents of the complaint in their entirety, and thus you are responsible for these violations.” (Nov. 18, 2004 Letter of Hefley, p. 1)
- Bell’s complaint contained inflammatory language and exaggerated charges used for political advantage: “Indeed, it appears there is no purpose for including excessive or inflammatory language or exaggerated charges in a complaint except in an attempt to attract publicity and, hence, a political advantage. This improper political purpose was highlighted in this instance by the various efforts you undertook to promote your complaint publicly, by including such excessive or inflammatory language or exaggerated charges in press releases and other public statements.” (Nov. 18, 2004 Letter of Hefley, p. 1)
- It cannot be ignored that every one of the NINE counts of rules violations found by the Committee was raised by DeLay four months before the matter was disposed of. The actions of Bell, his staff, and a Democrat front group were contemptible of Congress. As the Ethics Committee stated, “it is highly improper, and a basis for the initiation of disciplinary action, for any House Member or staff person to attack the integrity of this Committee or any of its members.” (Nov. 18, 2004 Letter of Hefley, p. 1)
The House Voted to Reform the House Ethics Rules in Fairness to all Members
Changes to the Ethics Rules
- The Chris Bell matter, as well as the Nick Smith matter, exposed serious concerns about the lack of transparency and accountability in the ethics process, as well as the lack of adequate due process for subjects of ethics complaints.
- In the Nick Smith matter, several Members, including Reps. DeLay, Miller, Smith, Cunningham, and Dreier, were clearly denied due process and were never notified that they were targets of the investigation.
- The Chris Bell matter further exposed the lack of due process in ethics matters, and further revealed how outside parties could insert themselves in the House’s peer review system and exploit it for political purposes.
- The reformed rules allowed for Members to choose their own counsel, instill due process for Members (by allowing Members to publicly plead their case), and to restore the presumption of innocence by requiring a majority vote to open an investigation.
Changes to the Conference Rule Were Not Driven by Tom DeLay, but Tom DeLay did Personally Make the Request to Reinstate the Old Rule
- The Conference Rule was changed last Congress in fairness to the Members who become the political targets of partisan prosecutors and Democrat-front groups. Democrats, be they Ronnie Earle or Chris Bell, should not determine who leads House Republicans.
- Tom DeLay asked the Conference to reinstate the old rule at the beginning of this Congress after he felt the Democrats – who have never had any rule – were exploiting the reform for political purposes. DeLay said that while he saw the merit in the rule changed, he did not want the Democrats to use it as a distraction from the Republican agenda.
Changes to the Make Up of the Ethics Committee Were in the Normal Course of House Business
- Chairman Hefley was not “sacked” by leadership. Hefley was term limited and would have needed a waiver from the Speaker to remain as Chairman, which is rarely done.
- “GOP aides explained that Hefley had reached his term limit on the committee. Hastert can grant waivers at his discretion — as he did for Rules Chairman Dreier — but opted against it. ‘The speaker said that two terms is more than any one member should have to serve on that committee,’ said a GOP leadership aide. Hefley has served on the committee since 1997…” (Susan Davis, “Hastings Replaces Hefley At Ethics As GOP Restocks Panel,” CongressDaily, February 2, 2005)
- The new Chairman, Doc Hastings, was the next senior Member in line for the gavel.
- The Democrats refuse to let the Committee meet because they are still trying to politicize the ethics process and block the Committee from doing its work.
The Texas Matters Are About Politics, Not DeLay
Texas Indictments: A Political D.A.’s Attempt to Criminalize Politics
- The Austin District Attorney, Ronnie Earle, is a partisan Democrat who tries to undo with a grand jury what he can’t stop at the ballot box. Under a peculiar Texas law, he has statewide jurisdiction over election law issues.
- The indictment of three TRMPAC figures and eight corporate donors was a political dirty trick sprung 40 days before an election.
- Since the 2002 elections, Earle has gone after people and entities he determined were involved in helping Republicans win elections in Texas.
- Earle has a history of targeting political enemies including Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, whose case was dropped due to a lack of evidence. Texas has only recently become a Republican state, so Earle’s claim that he prosecuted Democrats too is a red herring.
- The indictments are based on an extreme interpretation of a highly ambiguous law being misused by 1) a highly partisan prosecutor; 2) who is soon to be on his fifth grand jury; 3) in this two-year investigative payback for Republicans winning in Texas.
- Earle’s investigation is about whether the Texas Election Code was violated through corporate fundraising. But Texas law allows corporate money to be raised for indirect political activity (as opposed to donations to candidates), which is what TRMPAC did.
The Texas Civil Trials are “Sour Grape” Attempts by Failed Candidates to Get Rich Quick and Use the Legal System to Undue the Will of the People.
- The New York Times wrote, “The trial testimony has not tied Mr. DeLay to any illegality or suggested that he was involved in the details of the fund-raising efforts by the political action committee.” (Phil Shenon, “Testimony at Texas Trial Focuses on Use of Donations,” New York Times, March 3, 2005)
- The Washington Post wrote, “…during a related civil trial in Austin last week, DeLay’s name repeatedly came up, but no evidence was presented that the veteran GOP leader had done anything wrong. Certainly there was little said in testimony during last week’s civil trial that could harm him… The trial opened Monday with DeLay’s name front and center. But by the close of the trial on Friday, the testimony presented showed DeLay’s direct role in TRMPAC’s successful bid to win the Republican takeover of the Texas House was mostly that of a figurehead and a casual adviser early on.” (Mike Allen and Sylvia Moreno, “Prosecutor Balks When Asked If DeLay Is Target of Texas Probe,” Washington Post, March 6, 2005)
No Member Should be Responsible for Deceptive Behavior by Outside Organizations
The trip DeLay to Russia in 1997 and the United Kingdom in 2000 were proper.
- The National Center for Public Policy Research funded an educational trip in to the United Kingdom to meet with Conservative leaders in England and Scotland.
- The Center invited DeLay on these trips, organized them, paid for them, and reported the costs to him (which he reported on both his 30 day travel disclosures and his Annual Financial Disclosures).
- During the Russia trip, he met with religious leaders and government officials. During the UK trip, he met with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the trade minister, the U.S. Ambassador, and members of the Scottish Conservative Caucus.
- If the sponsor of a trip ultimately obtains funding for a trip, a Member is not and should not be responsible for that information.
The trip DeLay took to Korea in 2001 was properly vetted and undertaken.
- DeLay and two other Members were invited in 2001 to Korea by a charity.
- At the time the invitation was extended, KORUSEC was not registered as a foreign agent. Two days before the trip, the group registered as a foreign agent but did not notify DeLay or any other Member of Congress.
- Since 2001, numerous Members on both sides of the aisle have taken similar trips sponsored by KORUSEC, including a staffer for Nancy Pelosi.