Major DeLay Excuse Debunked

Tom DeLay’s defense of his trips to South Korea and the UK, both allegedly funded by registered lobbyists in violation of House rules, is that as far as he knew, the expenses were properly paid by a nonprofit organization, the National Center for Public Policy Research. He claims whatever funds the lobbyists gave over to NCPPR to cover his trips are not his responsibility. In DeLay’s own words, “I can’t – no Member can be responsible for going into the bowels of researching what this organization, how it gets its money or how it’s funded.”

But according to today’s Washington Post, not only can House members be responsible for such information — they’re obligated to be responsible:

House ethics rules contain detailed provisions barring the acceptance of any travel funds from private sources if doing so would “create the appearance of using public office for private gain.” They also obligate lawmakers to “make inquiry on the source of the funds that will be used to pay” for any travel ostensibly financed by a nonprofit organization — to rule out the acceptance of reimbursements that come from one organization when a trip is “in fact organized and conducted by someone else.”