The House ethics committee chairman who presided over three rebukes of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was bounced from the job Wednesday and replaced by a Republican congressman from Washington state.
The new chairman is Rep. Doc Hastings, the committee's second-ranking Republican. He was named by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., to take the gavel from Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo.
In addition, Hastert appointed two new members to the panel, Reps. Lamar S. Smith, R-Texas, and Tom Cole, R-Okla., whose political action committees have contributed to DeLay's legal defense fund. Smith's PAC contributed $5,000 in 2001and an additional $5,000 between July and September 2004; Cole's gave $5,000 between July and September 2004.
The shakeup of the panel, formally known as the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, comes in the wake of a Texas grand jury indictment of three fundraisers with ties to DeLay. They are accused of illegally funneling corporate contributions to GOP candidates for state office. DeLay has called the investigation politically motivated and said he had not been contacted by prosecutors.
...How can America be the "Home of the Free" when it's leaders are bought and paid for?