In 1997, 2 years after the Republicans gained control of the house, they changed a key rule in how the ethics committee could start an investigation of a house member. The rule change was that if 50% of the committee requested a probe, then it would happen. That change was so that a single party could not ‘block’ the investigation of someone in another party.
Sounds good, right? Almost makes sense.
But Tom Delay just changed the rules again. NOW it takes a majority. This rule was put in place when, shockingly, the 10 member committee voted 3 times in 2004 to admonish DeLay, and talk of a probe into more ethics violations by him was rumored. DeLay took decisive action:
After the 10-member committee admonished DeLay three times in 2004 and talk of a possible probe by the committee grew, Republican leadership in the House changed a central rule. The committee can now launch an investigation only if a majority of members support the idea.
DeLay, of course, responded quickly with a rebuttal of these allegations:
DeLay has called himself the victim of “just another seedy attempt by the liberal media to embarrass me” and has lashed out at Democrats for a “strategy of personal destruction.”
I think Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from California, says it best:
“What bothers me is the Republicans, when things aren’t going their way, tend to try to change the rules.”
and Barney Frank continues…
“The Republican Revolution came in [and] changed the rules so that one party couldn’t block an investigation of its own member,” Frank told NBC. “And when that began to bite, they’ve changed them back again. That’s the pattern, by the way, that the Republicans have engaged in on a whole lot of things.”
Frank said he and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were reprimanded by the committee.
“The difference between us and Mr. DeLay is, I think, we changed our behavior,” he said. “Mr. DeLay changed the Ethics Committee.”
We’ve seen this over, and over, and over again. We saw it in Texas with the totally idiotic re-districting.
What does it take to bring this man, and the rest of the Republican party, under control?