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Republican Party crisis deepens: DeLay forced out

Republican Party crisis deepens: DeLay forced out of congressional leadership

Source: World Socialist Web Site

By Patrick Martin
11 January 2006

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay announced Saturday he was giving up his effort to resume his position, as congressional Republicans maneuvered in the face of the influence-peddling scandal involving Republican insider Jack Abramoff. The longtime lobbyist and Bush fundraiser pled guilty January 3 to charges of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials.

Under the plea agreement Abramoff signed with federal prosecutors, limiting his sentence to 9½ to 11 years, he will testify against the congressmen, congressional aides and federal government officials whom he conspired to bribe. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of additional indictments or forced resignations may result. DeLay’s final abandonment of his leadership position is only the first consequence.

DeLay stepped down temporarily as House Majority Leader last September, after he was indicted by an Austin, Texas grand jury on charges of money laundering in a scheme to funnel illegal campaign contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas state legislature. Under rules of the House Republican caucus, leaders cannot remain in office after being indicted.

Attorneys for DeLay brought enormous pressure to bear on the Texas judge, Pat Priest, who is hearing the money-laundering case, seeking a dismissal of the charges by the end of January so that DeLay could return to his leadership position when the House of Representatives goes back into session January 31.

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