Let’s see how the Republicans spin this.
A Texas judge upheld a felony indictment yesterday of former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) on charges of money laundering in connection with the Texas election in 2002, while dismissing a separate DeLay indictment for allegedly conspiring with aides to violate the state’s election law that year.
The decision to let stand the money-laundering charge, which carries a more severe penalty, was a blow to DeLay, whose lawyers had hoped the judge would dismiss all counts in the indictments. If that had happened, he would have sought to regain the leadership post he relinquished in September under rules barring such posts to lawmakers accused of felonies.
DeLay’s leadership position has been temporarily assumed by Rep. Roy Blunt (Mo.), and no new vote is planned. But a former GOP leadership aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of crossing DeLay, said that among House Republicans “the overwhelming feeling is if things are not squared away by the time they come back in January, there will be a petition dropped on the speaker’s desk for an election” to permanently replace him.
DeLay also faces hurdles in his political district. In a Gallup poll of DeLay’s congressional district, released last night by CNN, just 36 percent of registered voters said they would support the congressman in November’s election. Forty-nine percent said they would support his Democratic opponent. Only 37 percent of registered voters had a favorable opinion of their representative, vs. 52 percent who viewed him unfavorably.
So even if Mr. DeLay beats the rap, he’s not going to be the House Majority Leader next year and he’s vulnerable for re-election. Well, that’s justice for you.