House Republican leaders tightened their control over the ethics committee yesterday by ousting its independent-minded chairman, appointing a replacement who is close to them and adding two new members who donated to the legal defense fund of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).
Republican officials have spent months taking steps to ensure DeLay’s political survival in case he is indicted by a Texas grand jury investigating political fundraising, and House leadership aides said they needed to have the ethics committee controlled by lawmakers they can trust.
Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), who clashed with DeLay so often that they barely spoke and was considered wayward by other leaders, was replaced yesterday with Rep. Richard Hastings (R-Wash.). Hastings has carried out other sensitive leadership assignments and is known as a favorite of Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who made the decision.
Hefley said in an interview yesterday that he believes he was removed because he was too independent. He said there is “a bad perception out there that there was a purge in the committee and that people were put in that would protect our side of the aisle better than I did.”
“Nobody should be there to protect anybody,” he said. "They should be there to protect the integrity of the institution.
Don’t you love the stench of corruption in the morning?
As part of his platform DeLay promised that he would provide that stench 24 hours a day!