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Sweet column: DeLay departs Congress; remains a factor in Roskam-Duckworth 6th CD race.

| 4 Comments

Tom DeLay said Tuesday he is quitting Congress because he does not want Republicans to lose House seats in November because of him.

But it may be too late for DeLay, the Texas Republican who is leaving with ethical clouds swirling around him, to take himself out of play as a factor.

today's column

Democrats at a national level and locally -- Dem House candidate Tammy Duckworth, running against state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton), who once worked for DeLay -- will continue to demonize DeLay.

"DeLay may be gone, but nothing has changed," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the chief of the House political operation, in a statement.

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Sweet blog:
• DeLay: 'Abramoff has nothing to do with me'
• What will this mean in November?


• DeLay 'proud of the past, at peace with present'
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Last year Emanuel and other Democratic leaders used DeLay's ethical problems to shape what became a drumbeat Democratic "culture of corruption'' battle cry against Republicans.

"If there were a Mount Rushmore of ethical scandals,'' said Duckworth spokesman Billy Weinberg, "Tom DeLay's face would be carved on it -- and it would be just as permanent.''

The top Republican House leaders provided a united front on Tuesday, praising DeLay's tenure and his decision to step down.

Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, "I think he understood that it was becoming a referendum on him instead of on the ideas between the two parties and I think he did an honorable thing by stepping aside.''

DeLay recognized that he could lose his suburban Houston seat in the wake of the swelling federal lobbying scandal centering around convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, implicating former DeLay staffers. DeLay also is fighting Texas state charges of laundering campaign donations.

'Mentor' an overstatement

DeLay's name has been looming in the 6th Congressional District race to replace Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.).

Duckworth has been invoking DeLay on two fronts: his ethical woes and the conservative values which he advocates.

"Pete Roskam's agenda reflects the values of his mentor, Tom DeLay. It does not reflect the interests and concerns of the 6th Congressional District,'' Duckworth said in a thank-you letter to supporters she sent after the primary.

I talked to Roskam on Tuesday. Duckworth's constant refrain that DeLay is his "mentor'' is an overstatement, he said. I agree. More than 20 years ago, during DeLay's first term, Roskam worked about seven months for him as a legislative aide.

"I think the Duckworth campaign is really stretched and desperate in trying to make this a close association,'' Roskam said.

The House this week is poised to take up a watered-down ethics and lobbying bill.

Duckworth backs some strong ethics proposals offered by her mentors who have nurtured her candidacy, Emanuel and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Emanuel and Obama's ideas regrettably were rejected by the Senate and the House won't do any better.

Roskam said he would support whatever House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) does, since he has "confidence'' in Hastert's ability to pass a bill to restore public trust.

Congressional ethics is a legitimate issue in the Roskam-Duckworth race. Soon there will be real House ethics votes to use to measure up Roskam and Duckworth.

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4 Comments

I talked to Roskam on Tuesday. Duckworth's constant refrain that DeLay is his "mentor" is an overstatement, he said. I agree. More than 20 years ago, during DeLay's first term, Roskam worked about seven months for him as a legislative aide.

"I think the Duckworth campaign is really stretched and desperate in trying to make this a close association," Roskam said.

Ms. Sweet,

I don't think that the Roskam/DeLay link has been overstated -- there is no question that Peter Roskam's strong ties to Tom DeLay have bookended his political career:

--> 20 years ago, Peter Roskam's life in politics began in the office of Tom DeLay.

--> Just last fall, less than a week before Tom Delay was indicted for his part in a criminal conspiracy centered on his campaign fundraising, DeLay hosted a $500 per plate campaign fundraiser in D.C. for Peter Roskam.

Since his criminal indictment, DeLay has been a little preoccupied with raising money for his defense fund -- but he remains the alpha and omega of Peter Roskam's political life.
================================
morning austin mayor....
thanks for the note
fyi..that fundraiser you note was hosted by the GOP house leaders---not exclusively delay.
hosting a fundraiser for a candidate makes you a supporter, not an automatic mentor.
best
lynn sweet

hosting a fundraiser for a candidate make you a supporter, not an automatic mentor.

Agreed.

But Roskam's "What's a 'Tom DeLay'?" pose is a bit much.

It seems you have been biased for Duckworth from the beginning. Roskam is known for his independence and his pursuit of ethics reform. 20 years ago he worked as an intern, and ...I'm sorry-- what are you trying to push? He worked for DeLay and others????? Did he know when he was a teen, that, decades in the future, one of the Congressmen he interned for was possibly-- arguably, maybe going to be ACCUSED of MAYBE bending wierd rules that maybe possibly could be kinda bad? Oh, yeah, Lynn tying him to DeLay will really help your career in the liberal media.

I don't see Lynn's column today as anything more than biased opinion with nothing newsworthy in it. I'm not a fan of either candidate but I'm sure Tom DeLay will not be an issue with the voters in the 6h dist. this November.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 5, 2006 6:03 AM.

DeLay: Tells NPR, ``Abramoff has nothing to do with me.'' was the previous entry in this blog.

Bush: Views new film tonight. And it is..... is the next entry in this blog.

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