Three to Go

Two of the five Republicans appointed to the House ethics committee have recused themselves from investigating Tom DeLay:

Two of the panel’s GOP members, Rep. Lamar S. Smith of Texas and Tom Cole of Oklahoma, said they would recuse themselves from any matter involving DeLay that comes before the panel. Smith’s political action committee contributed $10,000 to DeLay’s legal defense fund; Cole’s gave $5,000.

That leaves only three Republican members with financial conflicts of interest:

All five Republicans on the House ethics committee have financial links to Tom DeLay that could raise conflict-of-interest issues should the panel investigate the GOP majority leader… Public records show DeLay’s leadership political action committee (PAC) gave $15,000 to the campaign of Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa. — $10,000 in 2000 and $5,000 in 2002. Hart would chair a panel to investigate DeLay if the committee moves forward with a probe. The same political committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, also has donated to the campaigns of ethics Chairman Doc Hastings of Washington [and] Judy Biggert of Illinois