It looks like one republican is ignoring Blackwell's comments:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Private GOP tensions over Rep. Tom DeLay's ethics controversy spilled into public Sunday as a Republican Senate leader called on the Texan to explain his actions and one House Republican demanded DeLay's resignation.
"Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority, and it is hurting any Republican who is up for reelection," Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., said in an interview, calling for DeLay to step down as majority leader.
DeLay, who was admonished by the House ethics committee last year, has been dogged in recent months by reports about overseas travel funded by special interests, campaign payments to family members and connections to a lobbyist who is under criminal investigation.
A moderate Republican from Connecticut who has battled with his party's leadership on a number of issues, Shays said efforts by House GOP members to change ethics rules to protect DeLay only make the party look bad.
"My party is going to have to decide whether we are going to continue to make excuses for Tom to the detriment of Republicans seeking election," he said.
Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said Sunday that DeLay needs to explain his conduct to the public. "I think he has to come forward and lay out what he did and why he did it, and let the people then judge for themselves," Santorum said on ABC's "This Week."But from everything I've heard, again, from the comments and responding to those, is everything he's done was according to the law.
"Now you may not like some of the things he's done," said Santorum. "That's for the people of his district to decide, whether they want to approve that kind of behavior or not."
DeLay's spokesman, Dan Allen, said the congressman "looks forward to the opportunity of sitting down with the ethics committee chairman and ranking member to get the facts out and to dispel the fiction and innuendo that's being launched at him by House Democrats and their liberal allies."
Responding specifically to Shays' remarks later, Allen added that DeLay's "effective leadership has helped to build and maintain the Republican majority in the House, and that's exactly why liberal groups funded by [billionaire financier] George Soros have set their sights on him."
The majority leader was admonished three times last year by the ethics committee. The panel has been in limbo since March, when its five Democrats balked at adopting Republican-developed rules.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said last week that the controversy was distracting DeLay from dealing with more pressing problems before Congress.
Santorum, however, said DeLay is "very effective in leading the House" and "to date, has not been compromised."
DeLay, who took center stage in passing legislation designed to keep alive Terri Schiavo, has found that President Bush and congressional colleagues are distancing themselves from his comments, after her death, about the judges involved in her case.
"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," DeLay said, which some have interpreted as a call for impeaching members of a separate branch of government. Later, he complained of "an arrogant and out-of-control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the president."
"From everything I've heard ... from the comments and responding to those, is everything he's done was according to the law. Now you may not like some of the things he's done. That's for the people of his district to decide, whether they want to approve that kind of behavior or not." -- Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania