Friday, April 08, 2005

Hey, Everybody Does it (Wink, Wink)!

If I cheat on a test, is it okay becuase everybody does it? No. So, why is this okay for DeLay and his ilk?


Allies of Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas have finally gotten around to the "everybody does it" justification of the ethical lapses of their guy, the No. 2 Republican in the House. It's the excuse used after more specific defenses, such as "he couldn't have known where the money was coming from," begin to sound hollow.

In response to one recent discovery, the $500,000-plus paid by DeLay-controlled political committees to DeLay's wife and daughter, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri (the No. 3 Republican in the House) said, "The things that Tom has been criticized about in one way or another every member of Congress could be criticized about…. I think he's taking arrows for all of us."

Let the arrows fly where they belong, then. If all members are shoveling that kind of special interest money to their kin, the voters would like to know the specifics.

...Over the last several years, The Times has exposed family/lobbyist ties among many lawmakers, notably Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), former Sen. John B. Breaux (D-La.), and Reps. Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.), and Curt Weldon (R-Pa.). Instead of improving its self-regulation, Congress has weakened its ethics rules to help DeLay, who is also facing possible indictment for political activities in Texas.

"Everybody does it." When children say that, their mothers ask: "Would you jump off a cliff if everyone did it?" Maybe Republican defenders of DeLay are thinking, "yes."

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