Wednesday, May 04, 2005

DeLay not the only Member who accepted trips from lobbyists

Staff from the office of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R-TX) have pointed out that two Democratic Congressman may have violated House ethics rules by participating in a 1996 trip to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands that is alleged to have been paid for by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, reported the Chicago Sun Times. DeLay had recently been fodder for numerous critics due to a string of alleged ethics violations, including his own participation on the 1996 trip to the Mariana Islands.

Clearly this is a case of “it’s ok, because they did it too.”

Separately, The Hill is reporting that five members of Congress traveled to Ireland in 2003 at the expense of a lobbying firm. Disclosure reports for Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., then-Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., and Reps. Howard Coble R-N.C., Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Clay Shaw, R-Fla., "show that Washington lobbying firm, Kessler & Associates Business Services Inc., footed the $25,000 bill, even though congressional ethics guidelines bar lobbying firms from paying for lawmakers' travel.

As TYL has said before. Our Congressional Leaders should be held to the highest of standards. Their behavior here, if proven, indicates a disregard for their own established rules and appropriate disciplinary action should be taken.

Representative DeLay’s latest action, whether purported by him or his staff, shows his inability to accept responsibility for his actions. He needs to point the finger at himself. Rather than trying to make this into a partisan matter.


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