Burnt Orange Report

News, Politics, and Fun From Deep in the Heart of Texas

Support the TDP!

May 11, 2005

Kuffner Interviews Lampson

By Byron LaMasters

As promised, Charles Kuffner has a Q&A with Nick Lampson available for you to read. Lampson elaborates on his district 22 roots, notes that he does not want Tom DeLay to be the focus of the race, and plans to raise $4-5 Million.

Kimberly thinks that Lampson is making a mistake for not making Tom DeLay the center of his campaign. I don't necessary see it to be a problem. There will be all sorts of outside forces (notably, the media) and organizations (DCCC, Democratic 527s, etc.) that will be taking on Tom DeLay. Lampson has to prove his roots in the 22nd district, and his viability as a candidate.

Posted at 01:21 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 03, 2005

Lampson to File for CD 22 Tomorrow

By Byron LaMasters

Via email:


(STAFFORD) -- Nick Lampson, whose public service career spans the range from local government to the nation's capitol, will make his campaign for the U.S. Congress official on Wednesday by filing the required papers from his family's longtime headquarters in Stafford.

Lampson will be available to the media at 12:00 p.m. noon on Jebbia Lane, a street named after his mother's family, who helped settle the area as okra and cotton farmers.

Wednesday, May 4 - 12:00 pm

12710 Jebbia Lane-Stafford, Texas 77477

Posted at 06:09 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DeLay Name I.D. at 77%

By Byron LaMasters

The Stakeholder brings us the news that Tom DeLay is a household name all across America. It was difficult to take advantage of Tom DeLay's ethical troubles nationally in the 2004 election, because many voters just had no knowledge of Tom DeLay. Now they do - and they don't like him. Time Magazine reports:

At first, it was easy to believe that the storm clouds gathering around House Majority Leader Tom DeLay signaled little more than another Washington tempest. After all, most Republicans reassured themselves, hardly anybody outside the Beltway or DeLay's district in Sugar Land, Texas, had even heard of the Congressman, much less cared about his inflammatory comments about judges or his overseas junkets that might have been paid for by lobbyists. But not any more. Letters and phone calls to congressional offices about DeLay have picked up sharply of late, an aide to the House GOP leadership says. The Majority Leader has become a punchline for late-night comedians; two weeks ago, he was the subject of the lead skit on Saturday Night Live. And one national poll, by Democrat Stan Greenberg, shows DeLay's name recognition at 77%—making him more famous than any other House member in modern history, except Newt Gingrich.

Posted at 04:04 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2005

CD 22 Voters Disapprove of Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

Via the Daily DeLay, Channel 2 Houston reports on the Survey USA poll on Tom DeLay's congressional district:

In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job Tom DeLay is doing as Congressman?

51 percent disapproved
42 percent approved
7 percent were not sure

What letter grade would you give Tom DeLay for his job as congressman? An A, B, C, D, or an F?

A: 23 percent
B: 19 percent
C: 18 percent
D: 16 percent
F: 22 percent
Not Sure: 1 percent

Based on what you know right now, do you think Tom DeLay should remain in his position as House Majority Leader, he should resign as House Majority Leader but remain a member of Congress, or do you think he should completely resign from Congress?

39 percent: Remain House Majority Leader
21 percent: Resign Leadership
36 percent: Resign From Congress
4 percent: Not Sure

The poll had a margin of error of 4.3 percent, pollsters said.

Posted at 10:16 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nick Lampson on Taking on Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

Nick Lampson has now updated his website with a message on his decision to take on Tom DeLay:

Dear Friends:

After much thought, prayer and counsel with my family, I have decided to run for the 22nd Congressional District of Texas.

My family has deep roots in Fort Bend County. My parents grew up there, were married there, and my siblings and I spent a great deal of time growing up on our grandparents' farms in Stafford. Much of my family is still there, and it is for them and all the people of District 22 that I am running for Congress.

In the coming days, I will begin sharing my ideas for a stronger, more prosperous America. In the meantime, thanks for visiting my Web site, and please check back for updates on our campaign for District 22.

Thank you for your friendship and support.

Nick Lampson

Charles Kuffner told several of us that he has made contact with the Lampson campaign, and asked our input for some Q&A to be posted sometime soon. I'll let everyone know when it is up on Off the Kuff.

Posted at 02:05 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Some Republicans Looking to Take on Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

Former U.S. Rep. Pete McCloskey is leading a group of Republicans who want to take out Tom DeLay in a GOP primary. The Houston Chronicle reports:

Former U.S. Rep. Pete McCloskey, in Houston Sunday for a conference on Palestinian issues, said he and other Republican elders are looking for a candidate to oppose U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

"Tom DeLay is an embarrassment to the Republican Party," said McCloskey, who represented Northern California from 1967 to 1983.

He met Sunday with Michael Fjetland, who was defeated by DeLay in Republican primaries in 2000 and 2002 and as an independent in the 2004 general election.

McCloskey is one of nine former congressmen who have formed an informal group he called the "revolt of the elders," to oppose congressmen who they think are guilty of ethics violations.

I wonder who the other eight former congressmen are?

Update: Via email, the list was published several weeks ago in the Houston Chronicle:

Mark Andrews, North Dakota, John H. Buchanan, Alabama, M. Caldwell Butler, Virginia, Paul Findley, Illinois, Bud Hillis, Indiana,James Johnson, Colorado, Richard W. Mallary, Vermont, Wiley Mayne, Iowa, G. William Whitehurst, Virginia, Pete McCloskey, California

Chis Elam adds his thoughts on the matter. I actually tend to agree with him that Mike Fjetland is delusional if he thinks he can get tens of thousands of Democrats to vote in the 2006 GOP primary to help oust Tom DeLay. The only way that Tom DeLay loses a Republican primary is if enough Republicans in CD 22 see him as someone that hurts their party.

However, if CD 22 Republicans believe that Democrats are attempting to hijack their primary, then Republicans who might otherwise turn against Tom DeLay would support Tom DeLay in order to maintain the integrity of their primary. Since there are more Republicans than Democrats in CD 22, then the suggestion that Democrats could help defeat Tom DeLay in a GOP primary is pretty much just a pipe dream.

Posted at 01:03 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Seven Texas Republicans Vote Against Ethics Rules

By Byron LaMasters

Last week congress reinstated the old ethics rules that the GOP majority threw out earlier this year. The vote was overwhelming (406-20) after the Speaker and GOP majority decided to give up on the weaker rules. Interesting, seven of those twenty "no" votes came from Texas Republicans. The AP reports:

Seven Texas Republicans voted against the reversal of changes to House ethics committee rules that could open the way for another probe of Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

DeLay, however, voted for the reversal.

The House voted 406 to 20 Wednesday night to remove changes that Democrats charged were designed to protect DeLay. Republicans said the changes were made to bring fairness to ethics investigations.

Republicans who voted against the rules changes were Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton of Ennis and Reps. Michael Burgess of Flower Mound, John Carter of Round Rock, John Culberson of Houston, Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Ted Poe of Houston and Mac Thornberry of Amarillo.

So, why did these guys vote the way they did? Louie Gohmert gave this explanation:

"I supported these common sense reforms when they first passed because they are more fair than the rules being reinstated, and I don't believe Congress should be backtracking to succumb to this partisan grandstanding," Gohmert said in the press release. "I know the Republican leadership is just trying to be magnanimous and accommodating, but the new rules were more fair in January when I voted for them the first time, and they are still more fair, so my vote stays the same, period."

The Fort Worth Star Telegram editorialized on Reps. Burgess and Barton:

Sadly, this Congress is so infected with the disease of partisanship that even the actions of the only totally bipartisan House committee -- with its equal number of Republicans and Democrats -- will be viewed through a lens of cynicism.

And by the way: It is disheartening to note that local Reps. Joe Barton and Michael Burgess did not join the overwhelming majority of their Republican colleagues in voting to re-adopt the former rules -- a move that broke the logjam that barred the Ethics Committee from convening to discuss any issue, not just that of DeLay.

Meanwhile, the Amarillo Globe News took Rep. Thornberry to task:

Only 20 Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, stubbornly supported keeping the rule changes. U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, approved letting the ethics committee do its job without manipulating the process.

Republicans were fighting a losing battle because they could offer no valid reason for changing the rules - one of which would dismiss an ethics complaint after 45 days - other than to provide political cover for DeLay.

Posted at 12:26 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 27, 2005

Ethics, Delay, and more Controversy

By Katie Naranjo

Not surprising, but still annoying Tom Delay is being accused of fraud again, only this time it is a lobbyist and trips to foreign countries. Both sides in the house seem to be on edge, as Democrats are not willing to provide a 6th vote in the Ethics commission and Republicans are trying to not make concessions. At least Democrats still have a voice with the Ethics Commission, since it is divided into 5 Republicans and 5 Democrats. It is the only arena where the minority has some power.

Hopefully something becomes of the claims from the Democrats since it has made the body ineffective and crooked in the international media. Maybe after all of the bad press and hometown editorials condemning the rule changes the GOP will make concessions to Democrats and there will be action taken.

Thank God though that Chris Bell is from Texas and filed the complaint against Delay, I am really impressed with this fellow Texan who will stand up against others. Is it not ironic that Delay and Bell are from Texas?

For more on the Delay saga and the Ethics Commission, click here.

[Byron - I've added Lloyd Doggett's statement on today's events in the extended entry]

On the House GOP's Retreat on the Partisan Ethics Rules

Washington, DC- Today, the Republican-controlled House of Representative belatedly reversed itself on the misguided partisan ethics rule changes made previously this year in an attempt to protect Tom DeLay. In response, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) issued the following statement.

"By unilaterally weakening the rules, removing the Republican ethics chair who had the courage to discipline Tom DeLay, and firing bipartisan professional investigative staff, the House Republican leadership has shattered meaningful ethics enforcement. Belatedly restoring the prior, bipartisan rules is only a first, tentative step to reversing this outrageous misconduct. It is too early to tell if this is just more eyewash and hogwash or whether it represents a genuine willingness to restore accountability."

Posted at 06:08 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 26, 2005

Ralph Hall the Gentleman?

By Byron LaMasters

Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) held a fundraiser this week to help his 2004 Democratic opponent pay off his campaign debt. Ralph Hall was never much of a Democrat, but it's hard to say that he's not a gentleman. This is certainly unusual. The Texarkana Gazette reports:

U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, whose district this extreme northeastern corner of Texas has recently fallen into, held a fund-raiser for his Democrat challenger, Charles Nickerson of Pittsburg.

A prominent, longtime Republican helping his also-ran Democrat challenger pay of his campaign debts? [...]

It's raised a few eyebrows throughout the region but there don't appear to be any ulterior motive on Hall's part. He was once a Democrat. [...]

It wasn't anything Hall was obligated to do. He said he was compelled to do it because Nickerson ran a clean race against him.

Area Democrats and Republicans turned out to attend the fund-raiser.

Posted at 05:22 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

April 25, 2005

Richard Morrison Withdraws from CD 22 Race

By Byron LaMasters

Does this mean that the path is clear for a Nick Lampson campaign in CD 22? Here is the email that Richard Morrison sent out to supporters this afternoon. I'm sure that speculation as to whether Morrison was forced out of the race will quickly ensue:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

It is with great sadness that I must withdraw my name from the race for District 22. As you all know I devoted 2 years of my life to win and placed my law practice on hold. With the prospects of having to spend another 2 years winning a primary and then challenging DeLay, my family’s financial situation is not the rosiest. My wife is expecting our 5th child in August and I feel that I must devote my time to getting my financial house in order. I think the biggest issue this county faces is our national debt and for me and mine to be facing debt that could quickly become unmanageable is irresponsible and unwise.

My mother and children's grandmother has also been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas. She has vowed to me that she will fight it every step of the way and I have committed to help her with that fight. I ask for your prayers for her and my father.

I am not giving up my fight. I will continue to stay active and work hard for democrats. I ask that you do the same. Tom DeLay is bad for democracy and bad for America. If I can be so bold, I demand that each one of you will commit to work as hard for Congressman Lampson or Councilman Quan as you did for me. Democracy will suffer if you slack off even one bit.

Please do more in your community than just Democratic politics. Become active in Rotary, the local Chamber of Commerce, or your church, mosque or synagogue. Volunteer and began to carry the load in these organizations. Become indispensable to them. And when the conversations turn to politics, let them know that you are a Democrat. Demonstrate by your service that the Democratic Party cares. Through our service we can win back what we have lost and make this great county better.

Finally, I want to thank each one you who has contributed their time,
talent and treasure. This campaign was a campaign of service to the people of District 22 and each of you deserve all of the credit. I would not have been the candidate I was without your support.

Fight on!
Richard Morrison

I know that I join many Democrats in thanking Richard Morrison for his tireless work for the Democratic Party, his fight for ethical government, and perhaps most significantly - his efforts to take on and expose Tom DeLay. I wish Richard and his family the best, and I encourage them to contiune their service to our Democratic Party, and their community.

Update: The DCCC denies attempting to force Morrison out of the race, and point to this comment by the Morrison campaign on this Kos diary.

Posted at 03:58 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Abramoff Paid for DeLay Trip to London

By Byron LaMasters

It is against House rules for a registered lobbyist to pay for the travel expenses of a congressman. Jack Abramoff is a Washington lobbyist, and friend of Tom DeLay. Edwin A. Buckham is also a Washington lobbyist. Abramoff and Buckham paid for a 2000 trip to London and Scotland for Tom DeLay. The Washington Post reports:

The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number.

DeLay's expenses during the same trip for food, phone calls and other items at a golf course hotel in Scotland were billed to a different credit card also used on the trip by a second registered Washington lobbyist, Edwin A. Buckham, according to receipts documenting that portion of the trip.

House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists. DeLay, who is now House majority leader, has said that his expenses on this trip were paid by a nonprofit organization and that the financial arrangements for it were proper. He has also said he had no way of knowing that any lobbyist might have financially supported the trip, either directly or through reimbursements to the nonprofit organization.

The Houston Chronicle has a handy breakdown of the expenses for Tom DeLay's London trip:

Details of a trip to Britain taken by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in May 2000, based on travel and other documents:

  • Business Class tickets for DeLay and his wife to London on Continental Airlines and British Airways: $6,938.70

  • Golfing fees at St. Andrews: $5,000 per golfer, including DeLay.

  • Deluxe room at the London Four Seasons Hotel: $790 a night for four nights.

  • Private car from Heathrow airport to the hotel: $302.

  • Six theater tickets: $434. (DeLay's attorney said the lawmaker did not recall attending the theater but the tickets were charged to his room)

More at the Daily DeLay.

Posted at 11:25 AM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 23, 2005

Lampson, Morrison committed to take on Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

The Houston Chronicle reports that Richard Morrison, Gordon Quan and Nick Lampson met in the past days about who will take on Tom DeLay:

Three Democrats who want to challenge House Majority Leader Tom DeLay without a divisive primary were unable Friday to agree on a single candidate against the powerful Sugar Land Republican.

Sugar Land lawyer Richard Morrison, who ran against DeLay last November, former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, of Beaumont, and Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan met at Morrison's behest.

Morrison said he and Lampson still are committed to the race. Quan said he will form an exploratory committee. Lampson could not be reached.

As you might have noticed, Frontier PAC is running a blogad on BOR, urging the DCCC to get behind Morrison. My understanding is that the DCCC will not be financially supporting any candidate in the primary, but will financially support the Democratic nominee for the district. Of course, I have no idea if the DCCC has encouraged another candidate (Lampson, Quan, etc.) to enter the race, but I don't particularly have a problem with a competitive primary as long as all candidates run a positive campaign.

Several weeks ago, many Texas bloggers held a conference call with Richard Morrison. I didn't have the opportunity to write on the call at the time, but Morrison was very clear that he was not "considering" the race. He had no plan to step aside for anyone. He said that a candidate from outside the district (Lampson, Quan, etc.) might have trouble selling himself to conservative voters in the district - especially areas such as Richmond, Rosenberg, parts of Galveston, etc. If an outside candidate won the primary, Morrison fears that Tom DeLay would be able to successfully label the candidate as an "out of touch liberal" from outside the district.

I'm inclined to agree with Morrison here. Lampson could probably raise more money, and Quan might be able to appeal to some Republican-leaning Asian-American voters, but Morrison is the candidate that has been building a grassroots organization for two years now, and he's determined to not only take on Tom DeLay, but to build a true Democratic organization in the 22nd Congressional District.

Posted at 04:32 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

April 14, 2005

Tom DeLay Watch 04-14-05

By Byron LaMasters

Tom DeLay's House website lists four Great Documents of our Time. Which one does not belong here?

The Magna Carta
The Declaration of Independence
The United States Bill of Rights
The Contract with America

Via the LA Times and the Daily DeLay.

In other Tom DeLay news today, Tom DeLay has joined John Cornyn in making a sort-of-apology-but-not-really for his remarks that the federal judges who failed to reinsert Terri Schiavo's feeding tube would "answer for their behavior". Now, Tom DeLay is stepping a baby step back:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay apologized Wednesday for threatening retaliation against federal judges involved in the Terri Schiavo case, though he didn't rule out the possibility of seeking their impeachment if that's what the House Judiciary Committee recommends.

"I said something in an inartful way and I shouldn't have said it that way, and I apologize for saying it that way," Mr. DeLay told reporters. But he said that shouldn't preclude Congress from exercising oversight authority when it comes to the courts.

"I believe in an independent judiciary," he said. "We set up the courts. We can unseat the courts. We have the power of the purse."

After Ms. Schiavo died, Mr. DeLay called the federal judges who failed to reinstate her feeding tube "arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable," and said "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior."

Inartful. I think I have a new favorite word.

Update: Meanwhile, Kos catches DeLay admitting corruption in his interview with the Washington Times.

Posted at 01:01 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 13, 2005

DeLay Makes Trip to Senate to Slow the Bleeding

By Byron LaMasters

After two Senators with tough re-elections next cycle, Rick Santorum and Lincoln Chafee made statements critical of Tom DeLay, DeLay spoke to the GOP Senate caucus the other day:

With a handful of fellow Republicans breaking ranks, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay crossed the Capitol on Tuesday to shore up Senate support. [...]

Mr. DeLay, admonished three times last year by the House ethics committee, has been fending off allegations about overseas trips apparently paid for by foreigners in violation of House rules, and for paying his wife and daughter $500,000 in the last five years for campaign work.

He has denied wrongdoing and said he'd like to go before the House ethics committee to clear his name. But the committee has been paralyzed for months. House leaders ousted the chairman and two others who voted against Mr. DeLay and changed rules to require bipartisan support to open any new investigations. Democrats refuse to operate under new GOP rules.

The panel meets today, though neither side is willing to budge.

Only the House can decide Mr. DeLay's fate, but recent comments by GOP senators have stepped up the pressure. Conservative Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a top Republican in the Senate, said Mr. DeLay should publicly explain his actions. And moderate Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., called him "a shadow over the party."

So, DeLay is having trouble in Washington, and back home in Pearland, his supporter, City Councilman Kevin Cole is getting a little bit hysterical. Andrew has more below.

Update: Earlier today, I read Councilman Cole's website. Now it seems to have been taken down. Interesting.

Posted at 02:18 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 11, 2005

Shays Calls for DeLay to Step Down

By Byron LaMasters

Not a huge surprise here, because Chris Shays represents one of the most Democratic districts held by a Republican in Congress, but now that one Republican has called for DeLay to step down, it puts preasure on others to say the same. The Houston Chronicle has the story.

Update: Interestingly, last October Shays said that DeLay was a "great majority leader".

More at the Daily DeLay.

Posted at 01:13 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 08, 2005

Several Consider TX-22 Run

By Byron LaMasters

Fresh after Richard Morrison's 2004 campaign success in forcing Tom DeLay to actually run a campaign, and amid Tom DeLay's many troubles nowadays, there's renewed interested in taking on Tom DeLay.

Richard Morrison has stated flat out that he is running again, and today, the Houston Chronicle notes that Houston City Councilman Gordan Quan, Former Congressman Nick Lampson and State Rep. Rick Noriega also might be interested in running.

I tend to agree with Greg. Morrison is the only candidate that actually lives in the district. I think that makes a big difference. Also, Morrison doesn't have a legislative record that can be attacked. This race should be about Tom DeLay. If our nominee is someone with a record that DeLay can go after, then Tom DeLay will do his best to make the race about someone else.

Posted at 02:30 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 05, 2005

Cornyn Makes Excuses for Terrorists

By Byron LaMasters

Via America Blog is our senator making excuses for terrorism against judges:

SENATOR JOHN CORNYN: "I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence." [Senate Floor, 4/4/05]

It would seem as if John Cornyn is attempting to use the recent violence and threats of violence against our judiciary for political gain. That is utterly shameless. Is this really the best arguement that Republicans can make in favor of ending the filibuster?

I will say this to John Cornyn. The next time a judge is murdered, you have blood on your hands.

Via Supreme Irony.

Update: It's over on Kuff as well now.

Posted at 12:46 AM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 30, 2005

Waste During Wartime

By Byron LaMasters

I'll give Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) credit for one thing. He's standing up to oppose wasteful military spending during wartime. Read the letter that he sent to ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Ike Skelton in PDF format, here.

There are currently around 4000 Texas National Guardsmen and women serving on active duty in addition to the tens of thousands of Texans on active duty.

This issue is now before the House Armed Services Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso). If you are interested in this issue, call Reyes defense LA, Julie Marberg, at (202) 225-4831.

Posted at 04:26 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

$75,000 Ad Buy in Tom DeLay's District

By Byron LaMasters

It's good to see folks taking on Tom DeLay while he's taking heat from the nation media these past few weeks. The Campaign for America's Future is making a $75,000 ad buy in the TX-22 District:

Tom "the Hammer" DeLay leads the Republican majority in Congress, and epitomizes the blatant corruption, abuses of power and partisanship all too common among the extreme right wing. Help us air a new TV ad to call out DeLay’s corruption for hundreds of thousands of his own constituents and upwards of one million Americans. Corruption like...

  • Taking campaign contributions from a polluting energy company in exchange for what company officials believed would be "a seat at the table" during Energy Bill negotiations.
  • Strong-arming a Republican member of Congress to side with big drug companies and HMOs during the 2004 Medicare bill. (The Republican colleague originally accused DeLay of outright bribery.)
  • For the first $20,000 contributed, the Campaign for America’s Future will match every dollar 4-to-1 to expose DeLay’s corruption for even more people. With this match, every $10 you contribute will put this ad in front of 160 households for a full week! Please contribute today.

More info from the Campaign for America's Future folks via email:

The Campaign for America's Future spot begins airing Thursday throughout Rep. DeLay's Texas district and on major news stations in Washington. The initial $75,000 buy runs for a full week. We've also created a website highlighting DeLay's corruption.

The Public Campaign Action Fund begins a $25,000 buy of television ads also calling on Rep. DeLay to resign this week in three districts represented by Republican members Rep. Rob Simmons, R-Conn., Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., and House Ethics Committee Chair Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash.

More at the Daily DeLay. The Stakeholder is all over Tom DeLay as well. Even the Texas A&M Newspaper is running a column today opposing Tom DeLay.

Posted at 02:26 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 29, 2005

Wingnuts Buy Shiavo List

By Byron LaMasters

Read Kos to see the those who support the parents of Terri Shiavo. Shiavo's parents have profited by selling their fundraising list to a right-wing fundamentalist pro-life organization.

Posted at 08:00 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 28, 2005

BOR Tom DeLay Poll

By Byron LaMasters

Which is more surprising? The fact that Tom DeLay opposes giving Terry Shiavo's husband the same rights that Tom DeLay's mother had when Tom DeLay's father was in a state described as "basically a vegetable"? Or the fact that the Wall Street Journal has taken on Tom DeLay on their editorial page?

We report, you decide...

Vote Here.

Posted at 07:34 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Even the Wall Street Journal Takes on Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

You know things are getting bad when the Wall Street Journal takes on a Republican in their editorial page:

Whether Mr. DeLay violated the small print of House Ethics or campaign-finance rules is thus largely beside the point. His real fault lies in betraying the broader set of principles that brought him into office, and which, if he continues as before, sooner or later will sweep him out.

Via The Stakeholder. Also at Off the Kuff and the Daily DeLay.

Posted at 03:17 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2005

Around the Blogs with Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

I was away from the computer for about 24 hours, and I'm a little bit behind with the latest on Tom DeLay, so follow these links for more...

The Daily Delay is the best place to start, and be sure to sign up on their latest project calling for DeLay's resignation at Without DeLay. Daily Kos reposted Tom's Get out of Jail Free Card. Kuff, as always, has a comprehensive wrap-up as does The Stakeholder.

More thoughts at Drive Democracy and Houtopia.

Who am I missing?

Posted at 01:58 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 15, 2005

The Statesman on Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

Their editorial today:

The steady stream of ethical charges flowing around U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for more than a year are now threatening to inundate him.

DeLay has been admonished three times in the past 12 months by the House Ethics Committee. He is central to a Travis County grand jury investigation of possible campaign law violations and faces new questions about his travel and lobby connections.

Concerns arose last week about a trip DeLay, and others, accepted from the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council. The council is a registered foreign agent, which would make the trip illegal under House rules.

The powerful Republican from Sugar Land has not taken all this criticism calmly. Under his leadership, the GOP recently changed the makeup of the Ethics Committee, canning the former chairman and adding to the panel DeLay's friend, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from San Antonio whose district includes parts of Austin.

GOP leaders also pushed through rules changes that would protect DeLay's position if he is indicted; allow easier dismissal of an ethics complaint; and allow one attorney to represent multiple clients accused of ethics violations. Most of this was done in secret, and House Democrats finally revolted.

To protest the rules changes, Democrats prevented the Ethics Committee from organizing last week. Because the 10-member panel is evenly divided by party, it couldn't produce a majority vote to adopt the new rules. Without rules, the House now has no mechanism to investigate or punish members.

The House is, as The Washington Post editorialized, "an ethics-free zone." Democrats insist that they will keep the pressure on until the Republicans undo the rules changes adopted to cover DeLay.

How long the GOP will put up with DeLay's power plays and ethical lapses is a matter for speculation. But some Republicans already are acknowledging that DeLay's position is weakening.

One Republican consultant quoted recently resorted to a remarkable bit of verbal gymnastics to describe DeLay's position. "The situation is negatively fluid right now for the guy," he said.

DeLay brought this on himself. His scorched-earth partisanship, coziness with lobbyists and flippant attitude toward House ethics rules made him a vulnerable target.

Republicans would be wise to get themselves another majority leader before more damage is done.

Tom DeLay must go. He must resign or we must defeat him.

Posted at 09:09 AM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Tom DeLay Must Go

By Byron LaMasters

The Daily DeLay is starting the campaign to get Tom DeLay to resign. Join them.

Posted at 06:23 AM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2005

Tom DeLay and Foreign Money

By Byron LaMasters

Instead of writing about it, just read this Washington Post article and this Kos Diary (recommend it, too!).

More at: Daily DeLay and Kuff. The Richard Morrison campaign has a statement which I've put in the extended entry.

The Washington Post has the news. Tom DeLay went on a $100,000 trip to Korea paid for by a registered foreign agent.

If you've had enough of Tom DeLay, send a message and support a grassroots revolution that's working to end the reign of DeLay, Inc. Contribute to Richard Morrison here:

Here's more from the Washington Post story:

A delegation of Republican House members including Majority Leader Tom DeLay accepted an expense-paid trip to South Korea in 2001 from a
registered foreign agent despite House rules that bar the acceptance of travel expenses from foreign agents, according to government documents and travel reports filed by the House members.

Justice Department documents show that the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, a business-financed entity created with help from a lobbying firm headed by DeLay's former chief of staff, registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act on Aug. 22, 2001. DeLay; his wife, Christine; and two other Republican lawmakers departed on a trip financed by the group on Aug. 25 of that year.

The exchange group in late 2003 hosted three Democratic House members and another Republican on a similar trip. It spent at least 106,921 to finance the three-day trip in 2001 from Washington to Seoul by the Republicans, which DeLay (Tex.) and accompanying staff assistants described at the time as having an "educational" purpose.

The DeLay machine is very brittle -- it's held together with chains of money under high tension. Lobbyists give him money because he's powerful. He invests a certain percentage of that in campaign contributions to other GOPers. The influence he buys with that money is then mercilessly exploited to squeeze more money from the lobby.

But now corporations are getting into serious legal trouble for their
involvement with DeLay, Inc. But DeLay is not resting. His criminal
defense fund has already raised $1million.

But his campaign fund is down to only $68,000. He's already hired a top dirty tricks consultant for the 2006 race. We gotta step up our game to win. Every dollar invested in Morrison in 2004 caused DeLay to spend $4.62. That's a 400% return on investment. Contribute here to help Richard Morrison break up DeLay, Inc.

Posted at 12:30 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pete Sessions Helps Major Donor in Divorce Case

By Byron LaMasters

Wow. This has the potential to be a juicy story. Sessions filed a sworn affidavit in a divorce case which is disputed by the woman in the case:

In October 2003, Katz filed for divorce, and immediately sued to regain the transferred assets.

On February 11, 2005 - the day of a critical divorce court hearing - a surprise document was introduced by Ahron Katz's attorney. The sworn affidavit from Pete Sessions recalled a "summer 2003 discussion with them both ... via telephone, wherein they discussed their plan to have Lucia hold Ahron's lifetime savings and assets while attempting to resolve Ahron's ongoing legal dispute."

Sessions went on to suggest that "both understood that it was clearly never intended by Ahron to gift the assets to Lucia."

Leslie Martin is Lucia Katz's divorce attorney.

"I couldn't believe it," Martin said. "It was extraordinary that a U.S. congressman would file this type of an affidavit."

She said Sessions' sworn statement presents at least one big problem.

"My client, Mrs. Katz, says that conversation never took place," Martin said. "She's in fact never had a telephone conversation with Congressman Sessions."

But perhaps the bigger question is being posed by Matthew Andersen, the attorney representing the plaintiffs who won that December 2002 judgment against Katz. He said Sessions' affidavit outlines what appears to be an attempt by Katz to hide assets from the plaintiffs.

"My clients had obtained a judgment against Mr. Katz in excess of $1.4 million," Andersen said. "We were trying to collect it and they were out apparently hiding assets, and this was known to the congressman."

Andersen said he is considering taking legal action, and may seek Sessions' deposition. He wants to know if Katz was attempting to evade payment on the judgment, and what, if anything, Sessions knew about it.

Katz's attorney said the transfer was legitimate and was done at his wife's request.

Congressional watchdog Melanie Sloan is responsible for helping to bring successful ethics charges against Congressman Tom Delay. She has also read the affidavit, and believes Sessions may have violated House rules requiring members to conduct themselves in a fashion that reflects positively on Congress.

Will their be another ethics complaint? Or will Congress return to the pre-Chris Bell years of "ethics truce"?

Posted at 11:45 AM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 01, 2005

Silly Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

Tom DeLay:

"I hope the Supreme Court will finally read the Constitution and see there's no such thing, or no mention, of separation of church and state in the Constitution," said DeLay, a Republican from Sugar Land.

The first amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Silly Tom...

Posted at 08:44 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 24, 2005

Questions Avoided, Constables Called at Hensarling Townhall Meeting

By Byron LaMasters

This morning U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas) had a townhall meeting in Forney, TX (just east of Dallas in Kaufman County). For some reason, not one, but three Constables arrived at the peaceful town hall meeting of 25 after some tough Social Security questions were asked (which Hensarling did his best to avoid).

Read the full story at 100 Monkeys Typing.

Posted at 04:46 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

DeLay Raises $1,000,000 for Legal Defense, Gets Ethics Advice from Gingrich

By Byron LaMasters

Richard Morrison tells us what Tom DeLay has been up to recently:

Tom DeLay is a busy man. He has been busy lately, raising $1million for his legal defense fund, putting his considerable bad influence behind the GOP effort to gut Social Security, and preventing Houston from receiving federal funding for its rail program. [...]

We're launching a new effort called "Defeat DeLay Every Day" by asking supporters to make a small automatically recurring donation to this campaign every month. To do your part to defeat DeLay please click here and select the amount you can afford to contribute each month.

Speaking of Tom DeLay and ethics, he couldn't be asking a more qualified guy for advice:

Talking with Newt Gingrich about ethics may be like talking to Willie Sutton about bank robbery. You listen carefully to such an experienced practitioner, but you wonder: If he's so smart why did he get caught so often.

No matter. Gingrich is currently as cautionary, if not as vocally indignant, about the House Republican leadership's slide into the muck as he is about debating "patriotic immigration" or "the myth of judicial supremacy." [...]

"Republicans in the House have to look at the reality that if we make sense as a party right now it's because we are the reform party, and anything that risks being the reform party is more dangerous for us than it is for the Democrats," Gingrich told a journalists' breakfast Tuesday sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "They should be very careful."

Well, of course, House Republicans are not being careful. They are profligately displaying their power, including the power to abuse the House's tenuous-at-best policing of itself.

Gingrich's advice, minus some more general outcry, may be of limited effect. But Gingrich may have had a hand in stemming some of the abuses lately intended by DeLay & Co. Gingrich spoke out quickly late last year against the House Republicans' rule change to allow indicted leaders to retain their positions at least temporarily.

The rule was reversed. But the rollback turned out to be a temporary expedient.

DeLay, sometimes through House Speaker Dennis Hastert, has since exacted revenge against the House Ethics Committee for repeatedly citing him.

As a result of subsequent changes in House rules, it is now harder to institute an ethics complaint against a member. Hastert also replaced the fair-minded chairman of the House ethics committee, Joel Hefley, R-Colo., with a leadership stooge, Rep. Richard "Doc" Hastings, R-Wash., and replaced two of the Republicans on the panel. Two of the newly appointed members, including Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, have been contributors to DeLay's legal defense fund.

If DeLay's message was not clear enough, Hastings fired the two long-serving senior committee staff members, who were, in effect, the panel's institutional memory.

"It was terrible," Hefley told the Chronicle's Gebe Martinez of the staff firings. "Those two guys are very good, very competent professional staff. There was never a nuance of partisanship in either of them."

Gingrich made clear he thinks DeLay is on thin ice.

"The Republican Party's majority comes from the Perot voters who want real reform," Gingrich said. "Anything which weakens that is difficult."

Wow. Newt Gingrich is making sense. Maybe I should buy his book, or perhaps I should just let the House GOP self-destruct from their over-indulgence in corruption and complete mockery of ethics.

Posted at 01:01 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Raymond and Cuellar Trade Barbs on Social Security

By Byron LaMasters

I guess you could call this the opening shot of the likely 2006 primary between CD 28 U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and State Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo). The San Antonio Express-News reports:

A statehouse resolution opposing President Bush's plans to privatize a portion of Social Security could be a harbinger to a Democratic primary fight for a South Texas congressional seat.

The entire delegation of Texas Democrats in Congress, except for Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, has signed a letter supporting the resolution by state Rep. Richard Raymond.

It is no coincidence Cuellar withheld support for Raymond, D-Laredo, who is making it clear he is eyeing a run for Congress and possibly challenging Cuellar in the 28th Congressional District of Texas.

"I am interested," Raymond, 44, told the San Antonio Express-News on Wednesday. "And I certainly won't run unless I think I can win." [...]

Cuellar, 49, charged that Raymond put "political ambitions" ahead of constituents and lost a seat on a state appropriations committee that cost Laredo college funds.

Raymond would be the second Democrat targeting the freshman lawmaker next March.

Former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, 58, who lost a bitterly contested Democratic primary to Cuellar last year, announced his intention to run again in 2006.

A formal campaign would begin after Easter and be up and running by May, Rodriguez said.

For a minute, I thought that I needed to send Josh Marshall an email about another potential member of the "fainthearted faction" of Democrats supporting the Bush privatization plan. Alas, Cuellar's on the record opposing Bush (although, by being the only Texas Democratic congressman not to sign Raymond's resolution, he only makes it more of an issue, which makes little sense). Here's what Cuellar said to the Express-News:

In a letter to Raymond, U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, urged the Texas House of Representatives to continue efforts to inform "our constituents about the inherent dangers of privatizing Social Security."

It was signed by all Texas Democrats in Congress except Cuellar, who said the Texas resolution is a ploy that would have little impact.

"I will stand with the Democrats on Social Security," Cuellar said. "I am against private accounts. I am focused on what counts."

Cuellar was one of several Texas Democrats to support Bush over Al Gore in 2000.

Cuellar later was appointed secretary of state by Gov. Rick Perry before being elected to Congress as a Democrat.

"Neither side trusts him," said Rodriguez, who has become a consultant since he left office in December.

The primary ought to be interesting to watch.

Posted at 12:54 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

February 17, 2005

Something Stirs in Mordor

By Jim Dallas

Chris Elam informs us that Dark Lord Sauron Tom DeLay may be on the move.

Looks like Frodo failed... again. (It's an old UD joke).

Hat Tip to Kevin at blogHouston.

Posted at 04:48 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 02, 2005

Tom DeLay is Outraged...

By Byron LaMasters

That some "elite colleges" refuse to allow military recruiters on campus. Ya know, cuz it hurts American military preparedness in wartime. That amuses me, because for some odd reason, I must have missed the outrage from Tom DeLay when critical Arabic and Farsi translators were discharged from the military in wartime for committing the heinous crime of being gay.

So, it leads one to wonder, what does Tom DeLay really think? The Daily DeLay finds this priceless DeLay quote from 1988 where Tom DeLay defended Dan Qualye's lack of military service at the GOP convention:

[DeLay] and Quayle, DeLay explained to the assembled media in New Orleans, were victims of an unusual phenomenon back in the days of the undeclared Southeast Asian war. So many minority youths had volunteered for the well-paying military positions to escape poverty and the ghetto that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself. Satisfied with the pronouncement, which dumbfounded more than a few of his listeners who had lived the sixties, DeLay marched off to the convention.

What else can I say?

Posted at 06:18 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 25, 2005

Missing Charlie Stenholm Yet?

By Byron LaMasters

Hit and Run notes some comments by Mark Shields on PBS's NewsHour:

MARK SHIELDS: Well, to say the president will be without one of the great Democrats that he could have relied upon for counsel and real help in this election because of the incredibly short sightedness of the White House and Tom Delay -- Charlie Stenholm, Democrat from West Texas, blue dog Democrat --

JIM LEHRER: Explain what a blue dog Democrat is.

MARK SHIELDS: A blue dog Democrat are Democrats -- the moderate to conservative Democrats in the South mostly, border states, who believe in things like fiscal sanity, who oppose tax cuts but oppose big liberal spending, but continue to be Democrats. And Charlie Stenholm of West Texas was a ranking Democrat, respected on both sides of the aisle, Jim. And he was in favor of privatizing part of Social Security, one of the principal advocates. If Charlie Stenholm was in the House of Representatives today, he would get a minimum of ten or a dozen Democrats to join.

But there is no Charlie Stenholm left in the US Congress, and no Democrat with the influence to move others in the caucus towards President Bush's position on Social Security, or most any other issue for that matter, especially while Bush's approval is sitting in the mid-40s. The GOP may have gained five seats in Texas, but they may have just as easily lost ten votes on several issues.

The Bush administration had the chance to make a gracious gesture towards Democrats by appointing Stenholm as Agriculture Secretary. Instead the White House's only interest in bipartisanship in the cabinet was if it could help them in picking up a Democratic Senate seat (hence the courting of Ben Nelson D-NE and Joe Lieberman D-CT).

The American people want Democrats to be a true opposition party, and hopefully the Democrats will do their best to make Bush's second term a miserable one.

Posted at 01:07 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 06, 2005


By Nathan Nance

Guest post by Nate Nance

Congresswoman Tubbs, D-OH, managed to talk Sen. Barbara Boxer into signing the written objection withher when Ohio's ballots wer being certified during the joint session. I'm watching the 2-hour debate in the House right now. Some Democrats are debating that the objection is right because of voting irregularities that they want addressed, knowing full well that they are not going to overturn the election. And then some Republicans are talking about demagoguery and comparing certain congressmen to Michael Moore because they are extremists.

So this is either a really good day for democracy or a really bad day. It'll probably be a while before I'm sure which one.

This is a guest post from Nathan Nance. He can be reached at nate_nance@yahoo.com.

Posted at 12:54 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 05, 2005

Morrison Gears Up for 2006

By Byron LaMasters

Richard Morrison all but announced another run at Tom DeLay in 2006 in his fundraising email yesterday. I'm pleased to hear the news. Morrison was one of those candidatates that started off a bit slow, but got better with time. He gave Tom DeLay his first real challenge in years, and laid the groundwork for another run. This time, he'll have 23 months to raise funds and build up an organization, as opposed to about six months last time - Morrison wasn't really taken seriously until around last May. It's an uphill battle, but Morrison has developed significantly as a candidate, and we can count on Tom DeLay to continue his ethically challenged behavior. Speaking of DeLay, check out David Donnelly's column in the Houston Chronicle today:

Monday's stunning reversal by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, and the Republicans in Congress on the so-called DeLay Rule caught all by surprise, including those of us in the midst of the effort to hold politicians accountable for these types of actions.

But it shouldn't have. There are three reasons why DeLay caved on the provision, which was enacted by the House Republican conference back in mid-November and was designed to protect him if he gets indicted for his role in the on-going investigation into corporate fund-raising in Texas politics: constituent anger; a measurable rebellion among House members that emboldened House Democrats; and the growing sense that DeLay is becoming politically radioactive. [...]

Faced with citizen pressure from all over the country, DeLay blinked. The first reason he did was that members of Congress were hearing from constituents that they didn't like the DeLay Rule. One member of Congress, Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., summed it up in two words: Constituents reacted.

Fueled by bloggers, enterprising journalists and public interest groups, thousands of constituents called members of Congress throughout November and December to ask where they stood on the DeLay Rule vote. The issue wasn't going away.

The second reason DeLay & Co. backtracked was that they simply didn't have the votes to win on the floor of the House. While the DeLay Rule only applied to Republicans, Democrats smelled an opportunity and were preparing a straight up-or-down vote on whether House rules would allow any member of Congress to maintain a position in leadership after being indicted. That vote was to have happened Tuesday, the day after DeLay proposed revoking his rule. [...]

Lastly, DeLay's capitulation in the face of pressure signals his increasingly negative public image, and the rising wariness moderate Republicans and those in competitive districts have about being too closely associated with him. In short, in the past DeLay's ability to raise big money was an unqualified plus. Now it is becoming more of an ethical albatross. In the words of Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., "I feel like we have just taken a shower."

Let's send Tom DeLay to the showers in 2006. Donate to Richard Morrison today.

More from the Houston Chronicle editorial board, the Daily DeLay and Off the Kuff.

For the full text of the Morrison email, jump to the extended entry:

When I sent the last email of our 2004 campaign to unseat Tom DeLay, I said it would only be the beginning.

We were just getting started.

To jumpstart our new challenge to DeLay, please click here to contribute.

Holding DeLay to his narrowest win ever was only the beginning.

Compelling him to stop backing a chemical company that wanted to freight hazardous cargo on a rail-line thru the heart of area neighborhoods in Clear Lake was only the beginning.

Forcing him to outspend me almost 10 to 1 was only the beginning.

This time we're starting early, we're staying on his trail, we're working the district and we're going to win. When we win, District 22 will have a representative in Washington who will serve the interests of the people, not the corrupt corporations.

In 2004, over 10,000 patriotic Americans donated almost $500,000 to this campaign. If each of you can recruit one person, in the next two years, 20,000 of us can raise enough money to defeat a weakened DeLay.

Since the election, DeLay and the House GOP have stayed in the papers by shamelessly watering down House ethics rules. But just last night, DeLay reversed course and asked GOP members to undo the "DeLay Rule" that would have allowed him to keep his position even if indicted. This is a clear indicator that he knows he has overreached.

By keeping the campaign going non-stop for the next 23 months we can:

Keep him honest in Washington.

Make him responsive to constituents at home by pounding the message that a Congressman should serve the people of his district, not corporate contributors.

Build Democratic strength and organization in Texas.

And most importantly, we can end the reign of the most corrupt machine politician of the last one hundred years.

With your help, we can win this race, please click here to contribute:

Fight on,
Richard Morrison

Posted at 02:13 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 03, 2005

GOP Chicken Little

By Nathan Nance

Guest post by Nate Nance

We've all heard about the Republicans and their planned repeal of ethics rules for the start of the new session. Atrios made a list of things that the ethics repeal would no longer punish, among them taking bribes, fixing parking tickets and having sex with House pages. Wow.

Not surprisingly, after tons of groups have publicly chided them on this very stupid ethics repeal idea, ABC News is reporting that they are dropping the ethics package and things will remain as is for now. I guess someone remembered that sex with interns is just too much of a hassle.

Why they thought they would get very far with lowering the bar on ethics violations in the first place, I'll never know. Only supremely greedy, corrupt people like Tom DeLay would try to do this and their hubris and hatred for their fellow countrymen will be their undoing. I've often said that DeLay is just a big cockroach, working in the dark to get what he wants. Everytime we shine a light on his activities, he'll scurry away like the coward he really is.

This is a guest post from Nathan Nance. He can be reached at nate_nance@yahoo.com.

Posted at 07:50 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GOP Proposing House Rule Changes

By Byron LaMasters

Not only is the House GOP ousting the relatively moderate House Ethics Committee Chair Joel Hefley, but they're going to try to make it more difficult to file an ethics complaint in the first place. The AP reports:

House Republicans on Monday considered ways to make it harder to discipline members of Congress, prompted by a rebuke of Majority Leader Tom DeLay that infuriated some GOP colleagues.

Preparing for a meeting to consider rules changes, some Republicans were ready to push for a new standard of conduct - a move that would base any future rebukes on more specific information than is required now.

The change would continue a partisan feud over the House's method of disciplining lawmakers. The outgoing Republican chairman of the House ethics committee, Rep. Joel Hefley of Colorado, joined Democrats opposing the change.

The House will debate all new rules proposals Tuesday, the first day of the 109th Congress. Another Republican proposal would allow relatives to accompany a House member on a trip financed by a special interest group or nonprofit organization. Current rules specify a spouse or child.

Current rules require lawmakers and employees to conduct themselves "at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House." Some Republicans believe the standard is too general and want discipline to depend on a more specific finding of wrongdoing.

"Reflecting creditably on the House" is too general? How would House Republicans like their members to behave? Geez...

Posted at 06:47 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 02, 2005

Reform Democrats

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I am a Reform Democrat. And I think it's a message that works here in Texas as well as nationally, considering that much of the mess in DC is tied to this state in some way at the current time. What I'm talking about is that the Democratic Party should take the opportunity going into 2006 to make Reform part of, if not, THE Theme for the party.

It's a simple idea. Dean got us started on the path to thinking about it. Candidates like Mark Strama or Hubert Vo won on it here in Texas. Betty Castor and Company out in Florida are getting behind it for 2006, endorsing a proposed statewide referendum to take redistricting out of the hands of their overwhelmingly Republican legislature (in a 50-50 state). It's the hot topic for the DNC Chair race for good reason.

People are frustrated with government, in this state as well as others, and are frustrated with Washington (when are they not!) But because of what Bush and Delay are doing to the Republican Party and the Nation, almost effortlessly stripping away ethical guidelines, or real democratic choices by means of redistricting, people become less in control. Voters (and non-voters) feel powerless to change it. And that's part of their plan as well. Disempower voters and force down turnout while making it unattractive for the unregistered or occasional voter to actually bother to vote.

By running on reform, by talking about their "ethics" in terms of their "actions", the Democratic Party can undermine the GOP stranglehold on values. By championing reform and putting forth proactive solutions under the theme of reform, we can create a simple, united vision for our Party of reform, and a more honest government that work for people again, instead of against them and for a select class which the masses have a hard time identifying with.

A thematic vision, it's something that I still feel Kerry never created or articulated clearly, and our party in general hasn't done for 4 years. (And let's drop this "change" crap; it sounds weaker than "reform" and reform is tame enough to sidestep association with some dramatic revolutionary coup).

Dean had a message/theme of empowerment and reform. Edwards had a vision of Two Americas which he tied his ideas back to. They almost got our Party a vision for a presidential platform. We need a vision for the next four years that isn't dependent on Bush alone, but is associated with his form of government.

Reform Democrats. It allows us to be inventive in strategies that empower citizens to stay involved and get involved with our party and our democracy. It forces us to be thoughtful by offering up solutions and new ideas, instead of endlessly defending the status quo from slipping away into the 19th Century. It holds us to a higher moral standard. It brands us and gives us the theme under which a progressive vision can be actualized.

I choose to be a Reform Democrat.

Posted at 12:23 AM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

December 30, 2004

Public Citizen seeks Bribery Investigation of DeLay, others

By Byron LaMasters

Here's their letter to the Department of Justice:

Public Citizen is writing to provide the Department of Justice with significant new information regarding possible violations of 18 U.S.C. §201 (“Bribery of public officials and witnesses”) by current and former Westar Energy, Inc. executives and its D.C.-based lobbyists and current and former members of the U.S. House of Representatives. This new information has recently been uncovered in an investigation by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (“ethics committee”).

On June 17, 2003, Public Citizen submitted a complaint concerning possible criminal violations of anti-bribery statutes by lobbyist Richard H. Bornemann; Westar Energy (previously known as Western Resources) executives David C. Wittig, Douglas T. Lake, Douglas R. Sterbenz, Douglas R. Lawrence, Anita Jo Hunt, Caroline A. Williams, Richard A. Dixon, Kelly B. Harrison, Larry D. Irick, Peggy Lloyd, Bruce Akin, Paul R. Geist; and U.S. Representatives Tom DeLay (R-Texas), W.J. “Billy” Tauzin (R-La.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas).

I agree with Kuff that it's not going anywhere, but it ought to be investigated, and it makes for a nice press release.

Posted at 10:02 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 29, 2004

The Latest in GOP Ethics

By Byron LaMasters

The DeLay rule just wasn't enough. Now, the Republicans are likely to replace House Ethics Committee Chair Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) with a more reliable member - one of Austin's new congressman Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) who has contributed this year to Tom DeLay's defense fund.

Via the Stakeholder is today's Washington Post story:

House ethics committee chairman, who admonished House Majority Leader Tom DeLay this fall and has said he will treat DeLay like any other member, several Republican aides said yesterday.
Although Hastert (Ill.) has not made a decision, the expectation among leadership aides is that the chairman, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), long at odds with party leaders because of his independence, will be replaced when Congress convenes next week.

The aides said a likely replacement is Rep. Lamar S. Smith, one of DeLay's fellow Texans, who held the job from 1999 to 2001. Smith wrote a check this year to DeLay's defense fund. An aide said Smith was favored for his knowledge of committee procedure.

Republicans are bracing for the possibility that DeLay, who is the chamber's second-ranking Republican and holds enormous sway over lawmakers, could be indicted by a Texas grand jury conducting a campaign finance investigation that the party contends is politically motivated.

The effort by DeLay and his allies to preserve his leadership post, even if he faces criminal charges, is one of the most sensitive issues facing Republicans as the new Congress begins. If Hefley is replaced by Smith, it is another signal by House leaders that they will stand by DeLay. "It certainly seems they're circling the wagons," said a GOP staff member who declined to be identified.

The aides said the stated reason for Hefley's removal is likely to be that it is time for him to rotate off the committee after serving as chairman since January 2001. An aide to Hefley declined to comment.

Democrats have a great opportunity to assert ourselves as the party of reform. To that end, Greg has some good ideas. More also at Kuff, Boffoblog and Dohiyi Mir.

Update: The Stakeholder has a statement from Nancy Pelosi on the matter.

Posted at 01:33 PM to Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    

About Us
Andrew D. - contact
Byron L. - contact
Jim D. - contact
Karl-T - contact
Advertising Policies


Tip Jar!

Recent Entries
BOR Edu.
University of Texas
University Democrats

BOR News
The Daily Texan
The Statesman
The Chronicle

BOR Politics
DNC Blog: Kicking Ass
DSCC Blog: From the Roots
DCCC Blog: The Stakeholder
Texas Dems
Travis County Dems

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett
State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
State Rep. Mark Strama
Linked to BOR!
Alexa Rating
Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem
Technoranti Link Cosmos
Blogstreet Blogback
American Research Group
Annenberg Election Survey
Polling Report
Rasmussen Reports
Survey USA
Texas Stuff
A Little Pollyana
Austin Bloggers
DFW Bogs
DMN Blog
In the Pink Texas
Inside the Texas Capitol
The Lasso
Pol State TX Archives
Quorum Report Daily Buzz
George Strong Political Analysis
Texas Law Blog
Texas Monthly
Texas Observer
TX Dem Blogs
100 Monkeys Typing
Alt 7
Appalachia Alumni Association
Barefoot and Naked
BAN News
Betamax Guillotine
Blue Texas
Border Ass News
The Daily DeLay
The Daily Texican
Dos Centavos
Drive Democracy Easter Lemming
Get Donkey
Greg's Opinion
Half the Sins of Mankind
Jim Hightower
Hugo Zoom
Latinos for Texas
Off the Kuff
Ones and Zeros
Panhandle Truth Squad
Aaron Peña's Blog
People's Republic of Seabrook
Pink Dome
The Red State
Rhetoric & Rhythm
Rio Grande Valley Politics
Save Texas Reps
Skeptical Notion
Something's Got to Break
Stout Dem Blog
The Scarlet Left
Tex Prodigy
View From the Left
Yellow Doggeral Democrat
TX GOP Blogs
Beldar Blog
Blogs of War
Boots and Sabers
Dallas Arena
Jessica's Well
Lone Star Times
Publius TX
Safety for Dummies
The Sake of Arguement
Slightly Rough
Daily Reads
ABC's The Note
BOP News
Daily Kos
Media Matters
NBC's First Read
Political State Report
Political Animal
Political Wire
Talking Points Memo
CBS Washington Wrap
Matthew Yglesias
College Blogs
CDA Blog
Get More Ass (Brown)
Dem Apples (Harvard)
KU Dems
U-Delaware Dems
UNO Dems
Stanford Dems
GLBT Blogs
American Blog
Boi From Troy
Margaret Cho
Downtown Lad
Gay Patriot
Raw Story
Stonewall Dems
Andrew Sullivan
More Reads
Living Indefinitely
Blogroll Burnt Orange!
BOR Webrings
< ? Texas Blogs # >
<< ? austinbloggers # >>
« ? MT blog # »
« ? MT # »
« ? Verbosity # »
Election Returns
CNN 1998 Returns
CNN 2000 Returns
CNN 2002 Returns
CNN 2004 Returns

state elections 1992-2005

bexar county elections
collin county elections
dallas county elections
denton county elections
el paso county elections
fort bend county elections
galveston county elections
harris county elections
jefferson county elections
tarrant county elections
travis county elections

Texas Media
abilene reporter news

alpine avalanche

amarillo globe news

austin american statesman
austin chronicle
daily texan online
keye news (cbs)
kut (npr)
kvue news (abc)
kxan news (nbc)
news 8 austin

beaumont enterprise

brownsville herald

college station
the battalion (texas a&m)

corpus christi
corpus christi caller times
kris news (fox)
kztv news (cbs)

crawford lone star iconoclast

dallas-fort worth
dallas morning news
dallas observer
dallas voice
fort worth star-telegram
kdfw news (fox)
kera (npr)
ktvt news (cbs)
nbc5 news
wfaa news (abc)

del rio
del rio news herald

el paso
el paso times
kdbc news (cbs)
kfox news (fox)
ktsm (nbc)
kvia news (abc)

galveston county daily news

valley morning star

houston chronicle
houston press
khou news (cbs)
kprc news (nbc)
ktrk news (abc)

laredo morning times

lockhart post-register

lubbock avalanche journal

lufkin daily news

marshall news messenger

the monitor

midland - odessa
midland reporter telegram
odessa american

san antonio
san antonio express-news

seguin gazette-enterprise

texarkana gazette

tyler morning telegraph

victoria advocate

kxxv news (abc)
kwtx news (cbs)
waco tribune-herald

krgv news (nbc)

texas cable news
texas triangle

World News
ABC News
All Africa News
Arab News
Atlanta Constitution-Journal
News.com Australia
BBC News
Boston Globe
CBS News
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
Denver Post
FOX News
Google News
The Guardian
Inside China Today
International Herald Tribune
Japan Times
LA Times
Mexico Daily
Miami Herald
New Orleans Times-Picayune
New York Times
El Pais (Spanish)
San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Times of India
Toronto Star
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

Powered by
Movable Type 3.15