Monday, June 09, 2003

Trouble for DeLay? Maybe it will come to nothing. But the overweening arrogance of House majority leader Tom "The Exterminator" DeLay may finally be getting him in trouble, according to the Washington Post.

On Friday, the Post's Thomas Edsall reported that DeLay was one of four members of Congress who split $56,500 from a troubled Kansas-based company called Westar Energy. Building on reporting done by the Kansas City Star, Edsall wrote about company e-mails stating that the donations to the four Republican lawmakers were aimed at getting them to vote in favor of repealing a federal regulation that was not to Westar executives' liking.

In a follow-up on Saturday, Edsall and Juliet Eilperin noted that, last September, the Wichita Eagle reported that repeal of the regulation could have brought $27 million to two Westar executives.

DeLay's office has strongly denied that there was any quid pro quo. But this story bears watching.

Also on Saturday, Post reporter R. Jeffrey Smith had a long recap of the efforts of Texas Republicans to chase down fleeing Democrats so they could get a quorum in the legislature and ram through a redistricting bill.

The story centers on the way three federal agencies -- including the Department of Homeland Security, which is supposed to track terrorists -- were used to find the Democrats, many of whom had crossed the border into Oklahoma so they couldn't be dragooned back to Austin. DeLay's involvement is recounted in quite a bit more detail than I've seen previously.

Records, you will not be surprised to learn, have been destroyed.

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