Retreating under pressure, Republicans on the House ethics committee said Wednesday they were ready to open an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing against Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Four of the five Republicans on the committee were ready to move ahead, said Rep. Doc Hastings, the panel's Republican chairman. The panel also has five Democratic members.
The Republicans were ''prepared to vote at the earliest opportunity to empanel an investigations subcommittee to review various allegations concerning travel and other actions'' by DeLay, he said.
The ethics committee has authority to start an investigation based on information it receives ''through public and other sources,'' Hastings said."
As Obsidian Wings tells us, this is "a good opportunity to clear his name." Heh. My thoughts exactly.
Actually, I'm somewhat convinced that this is a cynical ploy to take the heat of DeLay so the committee can bury and/or whitewash the allegations later. But then, I'm a pessimist.
And fun factoid: The one Republican not willing to "move ahead" with the panel? It's Representative Lamar Smith, Texas Republican and Tom DeLay's replacement speaker at the infamous conference hosted by the "Judeo-Christian" Council for Constitutional Restoration. You know, the one that called for Stalinist tactics to be used against "activist" judges? Yeah, same guy.
Ah, what tangled webs we weave.
UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge jumps on board, saying "DeLay has become an embarrassment to the Conservative movement. (Far more so than Newt ever was, in my book.) It's time to throw him to the wolves." The trigger for him? DeLay's bizarre screed against Justice Kennedy that included an attack on the internet.
Doonesbury's "DeLay Political Death Watch" is looking more and more prophetic.
And while not perfectly topical, Howard Bashman of How Appealing offers a "DeLay disclaimer" warning that "this post discusses foreign law that I learned about by using the internet." Well, Howard, looks like you're a traitor aren't you?
Update #2: Well, that was over quick. Looks like the Dems thought it was just a ploy too.