DeLay, beware of the “Eyes of March;” media daggers are everywhere

By Noble Johns

Drip, drip, drip; that’s what its be like for Tom “The Hammer” DeLay, the one time bug exterminator, who rose through the ranks of the US Congress to become one of the most powerful crackers in the country. Now, after all of his indiscretions and lies of the passed have come back to haunt him, daggers aimed at his back are being drawn all over Washington.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay defended his family last, saying newspaper articles about his wife and daughter and about his trip to Russia were "seedy" efforts by the "liberal media" to humiliate him.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that DeLay's wife and daughter have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Texas.

The newspaper reports were the latest political controversies for DeLay. He has been admonished three times by the House Ethics Committee, and he faces possible indictment in Texas in connection with a campaign finance probe.

The Times said the payments to DeLay's wife, Christine DeLay, and his only child, Dani DeLay Ferro, were described in the disclosure forms as "fund-raising fees," "campaign management" or "payroll," with no additional details about how they earned the money.

"My wife and daughter have any right, just like any other American, to be employed and be compensated for their employment," DeLay said. "It's pretty disgusting, particularly when my wife and daughter are singled out and others are not, in similar situations in the Senate and as well as the House.

"But it's just another seedy attempt by the liberal media to embarrass me."

Separately, The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by DeLay when he was majority whip was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government.

DeLay, R-Texas, said the trip was properly reported and paid for by a nonprofit group, but indicated he was unaware of the group's ties.

"No member can be responsible for going into the bowels of researching what this organization, how it gets its money or how it's funded," he said. "The rules say if it's a legitimate organization that funds the trip and it's reported, it's legal."

He said the Republican Party continues to back him. He said that at a GOP conference Wednesday morning he had "an incredible show of support. ... I know it disappoints you guys, but it's true."

"I don't see any wavering of the support for the leader. I think a lot of members think he's taking arrows for all of us," Rep. Roy Blunt, third-ranking among GOP leaders, told The Associated Press.

Since 1984, DeLay has represented counties near Houston, Texas in the House of Representatives.

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