Republicans worried about whether Rep. DeLay will survive & consequences for the GOP's image.
Today the Washington Post has an article with the headline "DeLay Ethics Allegations Now Cause of GOP Concern." Finally. It is not that the facts have changed; he has always dismissed questions about his ethics -- things I described in a 10-7-04 post as "serious, very serious in my opinion" -- as partisan attacks.
Rather it is revelations last week about his overseas travel and ties to lobbyists under investigation have emboldened Democrats and provoked worry among Republicans
The Post article notes:
With some members increasingly concerned that DeLay had left himself vulnerable to attack, several Republican aides and lobbyists said for the first time that they are worried about whether he will survive and what the consequences could be for the party's image.
Thomas E. Mann, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said that DeLay remains generally strong within his party and is an effective leader and operator, but that "signs are emerging that both the number and nature of charges being raised against him could put him in serious political peril."
Republican leaders had thought they had built a fortress against future trouble by changing House rules in January and by changing the House ethics committee's Republican membership in February to include members closer to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and DeLay. In one previously unreported example of the tight connections, Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Tex.), one of the committee's new members, was co-host of a 2002 fundraising breakfast to benefit the DeLay-founded political action committee that is now the subject of a grand jury investigation in Texas. The grand jury is looking into whether the PAC improperly used corporate funds to influence the outcome of state legislative races.
DeLay's legal defense fund received contributions from two of the new ethics committee members, Smith and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). The committee admonished DeLay three times last year. Republican leaders later sought the rule changes that made it more difficult to bring new ethics charges against Republicans.
[This article has a good review of the recent charges involved Rep. DeLay.]