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Wednesday, Nov 17, 2004, 7:36 am

Republicans changing House rules to protect DeLay

By Tracy Van Slyke

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With all attention focused on the presidential election, the actions by House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX.), have slipped under the public radar. Not only is he a right wing religous nut, he was responsible for redistricting Texas in a blatant (and succesful) effort to add five more Republican seats to the House.

For these actions and others he has been admonished by the House ethics committee at least two times and was asked to step down by Democratic leaders and public watchdog groups due to the indictments of three close allies and a possible indictment of DeLay as well.

Now, to protect their swarmy leader, Republicans are attempting to change House rules that would allow DeLay to stay in office even if he is indicted. It looks like they're going to vote on these changes TODAY in a closed door meeting.

Supporters of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay proposed a Republican rules change Tuesday that would protect the Texan's leadership position if he were to be indicted by a Texas grand jury that already charged three of his associates.

House Republicans are likely to approve Wednesday the change in the rule that would force him to step aside if indicted. The show of support would be an endorsement of DeLay's position that the Travis County investigation is a partisan attack.

It's time to refocus and redouble our efforts to get these slimebags out of office. Click here to find out more about DeLay and what you can do to get him booted.

Tracy Van Slyke, a former publisher of In These Times, is the project director for The Media Consortium.

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