DeLay to resign from the House

The big story of the day is Rep. Tom DeLay’s announcement that he will not seek re-election afterall this fall and will resign from Congress, presumably in May:

WASHINGTON – Succumbing to scandal, former Majority Leader Tom Delay intends to resign from Congress within weeks, closing out a career that blended unflinching conservatism with a bare-knuckled political style.


Republican officials said Monday night they expect the Texan to quit his seat later this spring. He was first elected in 1984, and conceded he faced a difficult race for re-election.


DeLay is under indictment in Texas as part of an investigation into the allegedly illegal use of funds for state legislative races.

Separately, the Texan’s ties with lobbyist Jack Abramoff caused him to formally surrender his post as majority leader in January, within days after the lobbyist entered into a plea bargain as part of a federal congressional corruption probe.

More recently, former DeLay aide Tony Rudy said he had conspired with Abramoff and others to corrupt public officials, and he promised to help the broad federal investigation of bribery and lobbying fraud that already has resulted in three convictions.

Neither Rudy, Abramoff nor anyone else connected with the investigation has publicly accused DeLay of breaking the law, but Rudy confessed that he had taken actions while working in the majority leader’s office that were illegal.

DeLay has consistently denied all wrongdoing, and he capped a triumph in a contested GOP primary earlier this year with a vow to win re-election.

In an interview Monday with The Galveston County Daily News in Texas, DeLay said his change of mind was based partly on a poll taken after the March Republican primary that showed him only narrowly ahead of Democrat Nick Lampson.

“Even though I thought I could win, it was a little too risky,” the paper quoted him as saying.

That’s an interesting thing for him to say, because “risky” is exactly his style. My personal opinion is that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Two things have always been important to Tom DeLay 1) the success of the Tom DeLay and even more than that 2) the success of the Republican party as a majority in Washington, DC. With the admission of guilt by former DeLay aide Tony Rudy, I think it’s very possible that somewhere down the line in the not-too-distant-future statements by either Rudy or Abramoff himself are going to implicate DeLay in this scandal. Considering that some of the illegal activity was happening out of DeLay’s own office, I find it hard to believe he couldn’t have at the very least had knowledge of it, and perhaps participated as well. That’s pure speculation at this point, but that’s the best I can come up with because DeLay is not the kind of guy who’d quit a race he thought he could win – unless something big was about to happen to him. Rather than stick around and face the possibility that he was going to go down, he’s stepping aside to give other Republicans a chance to hold on to the seat he’s vacating.

Just my .02.

I know there is a lot of talk out there about how much DeLay did for the Republican party – and he did – but sometimes where there’s smoke, there’s fire and there’s too much smoke swirling around DeLay at this point to ignore or dismiss every allegation against him as overhyping.

Read more commentary on this via: Captain Ed, QandO, Moderate Voice, Betsy Newmark, Texas Rainmaker, Tigerhawk, James Joyner, Rhymes With Right (good link roundup there)

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