Feature

DeLay

Can he survive?

Tom DeLay's 'œbad weeks' just keep coming, said David Paul Kuhn in Salon.com. The Republican Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, already reeling from a host of apparent ethics violations, has taken two more major blows to the chin. The Washington Post reported last week that DeLay once visited Moscow on a six-day 'œfact-finding' trip supposedly funded by a conservative think tank. But the trip appears to have been covertly 'œunderwritten' by the Russian oil company Naftasib'”a violation of House rules that ban traveling on a foreign agent's tab. That same day, The New York Times revealed that DeLay's political action and campaign committees have paid his wife, Christine, and daughter, Dani, more than $500,000 for working on his campaigns. Far from being repentant, the combative DeLay'”known in Congress as 'œthe Hammer''”has decried the reports as 'œanother seedy attempt by the liberal media to embarrass me.'

DeLay may indeed have committed some ethical lapses, said Rich Lowry in National Review Online, but he's right: He's now the target of a media witch hunt. The Russian trip took place way back in 1997, and DeLay says he didn't know about Naftasib's possible involvement. As for the family payments, putting relatives on a congressional payroll is a 'œcommon, bipartisan practice.' Plenty of politicians, including Democrats like Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Howard Berman, employ family members this way. So why is it only DeLay who's suddenly making headlines? Because the Democrats' strategy for winning back congressional seats in 2006 depends on demonizing DeLay as a symbol of Republican 'œarrogance.' The left-leaning press is only too happy to assist in this vendetta.

Michael Isikoff

Newsweek

Houston Chronicle

Ken Garcia

San Francisco Chronicle

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