The League of Conservation Voters has renewed its demand that members of Congress return tainted campaign funds to recently indicted, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, until legal issues regarding his campaign finance schemes are resolved.
The LCV has also reissued a report, “Tom’s Tainted Team“, that exposes the ten as financially beholden to DeLay and the powerful special interests that back him. For example, each of the ten have voted for a provision in the House energy bill that would protect makers of the fuel additive MTBE, even though they each represent districts with drinking water contaminated by the dangerous chemical, and where lawsuits are pending against MTBE polluters. All ten also voted for a change to House Ethics Rules intended to protect DeLay from further investigations.
“While this latest ethical cloud hangs over Congressman Tom DeLay, the decent thing for these members to do would be to return the money they took from him until this issue is resolved,” said LCV President Deb Callahan. “If they cannot be shamed into that, perhaps they could put the money in a trust and donate the interest to hurricane relief until Rep. DeLay’s case has worked its way through the courts.”
The 10 Members of “Tom’s Tainted Team” and their campaign contributions from Rep. DeLay are as follows:
Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO) – $30,000
Rep. Chris Chocola (R-IN) – $40,000
Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA-11) – $25,000
Rep. Katherine Harris (FL-13) – $20,000
Rep. Mark Kennedy (MN-06) – $29,500
Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ-1) – $30,000
Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-3) – $30,000
Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32) – $26,644
Rep. Clay Shaw (Fl-22) – $30,020
Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-1) – $46,959
“It’s worse enough that these members are siding with MTBE and big oil polluters over their constituents, but the fact that they continue to support one of the most ethically challenged members of Congress in history and take his ‘tainted’ money is unconscionable,” said Ms. Callahan.
There is a tendency with stories like DeLay’s indictment to focus on inside politics, but the scandal is not merely about how he illegally skirted campaign finance laws to help elect Republicans, it is also about how these politicians exercised the power of their offices in return. It is not enough to hold DeLay responsible for his actions, we most also hold responsible all those who benefited from his illegal activities.