- Jul 31, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
WASHINGTON - Rep.
Tom DeLay, the defiant face of a conservative revolution in Congress, stepped down as House majority leader on Saturday under pressure from Republicans staggered by an election-year corruption scandal.
"During my time in Congress, I have always acted in an ethical manner within the rules of our body and the laws of our land," the Texas lawmaker told fellow Republicans in a letter informing them of his decision.
Still, referring to criminal charges he faces in his home state, he added, "I cannot allow our adversaries to divide and distract our attention."
DeLay temporarily gave up his leadership post after he was charged, but always insisted he would reclaim his duties after clearing his name.
At a news conference in Texas, DeLay said he had called Hastert, R-Ill., on Saturday to inform him of his decision. "Our success in lowering taxes, creating jobs, growing the economy and providing effective national security was helped by Tom Delay's leadership," the speaker said in a statement.
The 58-year-old DeLay, an exterminator before his election to Congress in 1984, said he intends to seek re-election next fall. "I plan to run a very vigorous campaign and I plan to win it," he told reporters in Texas.
Within two days of the lobbyist's appearances in federal court last week, GOP lawmakers began circulating petitions calling for elections. Hastert immediately made clear he would not stand in the way.
`After the Abramoff thing we got critical mass," said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who long had advocated new leadership.
While Flake is a conservative in a safe congressional district, others suddenly calling for change were more moderate Republicans who could face difficult re-election campaigns this fall.
New Mexico's Heather Wilson was among them.
She said three of DeLay's "former senior staff members have admitted or have been implicated in corrupt and illegal activities to get money for themselves by influencing legislation. Whether or not Mr. DeLay was involved himself or knew this was going on, he is responsible for his office."
I know a lot of Delays fans were saying this would all blow over and everything would be back to normal in no time. Even his own party finds him too corrupt to be associated with.