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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Action Alert: Ask Republican Members of Congress to Demand a Secret Party Caucus to Decide on Tom Delay

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You've probably been reading the headlines about how many folks, including Republican congressman Chris Shays, are calling on Tom Delay to resign his leadership post due to his repeated ethical violations. But resignation is not the best way for democracies to deal with entrenched powerbrokers who abuse their office. Ideally, Texans would have the ability to recall Tom DeLay now that they have learned about how he behaves, but they can't do that in Texas. However, Republican members of Congress could hold a caucus and remove DeLay as the leader of their party. If you live in a district that is represented by a Republican, contact them today and ask them to request a party caucus with a secret vote to determine DeLay's future.

Background:

Say what you will about Tom DeLay. He is a man who gets things done.

When Texas Democrats gerrymandered the Lone Star State's legislative and congressional districts to give their party more representation than the numbers warranted, DeLay stepped in with the help of some of his corporate backers and gerrymandered things to give Republicans an unfair edge.

When Texas Dems fled the state to make any vote on the new districts impossible, DeLay twisted a few arms down at the Federal Aviation Administration to get them to track the Dems' flight into Oklahoma.

When Michigan Representative Nick Smith (a member of DeLay's own party) was balking at signing the Medicare prescription drug coverage, DeLay twisted the representative's arm by promising to withhold support for Rep. Smith's son in his upcoming election.

And when DeLay needed some extra campaign cash to spread around the country to candidates who agree with him ($978,000 to 111 congressional candidates in 40 states from 2003-4 according to the Center for Responsive Politics), DeLay held a fundraiser with an energy company the very week that a key committee hearing was held on energy legislation.

The problem is simple: Tom DeLay goes too far with the way he gets things done. He and his committee encouraged the use of illegal corporate money in Texas elections. After his staff figures out which deep pockets are affected by current legislation, Tom DeLay calls up the deepest pockets and makes his sale. When he wanted a bill passed, he promised support for a representative's son's future election efforts (an ethical no-no), then threatened to actively oppose the son when the Congressman wouldn't go along.

It is now up to the House Republicans to decide whether Tom DeLay should get away with it - whether this country should have an ethical majority leader.

If you think it should, find your representative here to let them know America deserves an ethical majority leader.

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