Major CU Congressional Ally To LeaveCongress

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WASHINGTON - (04/05/06) -- Tuesday's announcement that legallyembattled Texas Congressman Tom DeLay is retiring from the Housewill remove a major credit union supporter from Congress. DeLay,who is under indictment in Texas for allegedly rigging the 2004congressional elections, is an outspoken advocate of credit unionsand went on record several times favoring the credit union taxexemption while he was House Majority Leader, a position herelinquished after last year's indictment. DeLay also worked withother Republican leaders behind the scenes to move the creditunion-backed bankruptcy reform bill to a final vote on severaloccasions and on to help lift the congressionally mandated cap onmember business lending, which he viewed as a hindrance to smallbusinesses, according to one long-time credit union lobbyist. "Hesaw politically that credit unions could be very helpful to theRepublican Party, both because of the numbers of credit unionmembers who are active and who vote, and as a way to help smallbusinesses," said the lobbyist, who added that DeLay tried todissuade Bill Thomas, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee,from holding hearings last fall on the credit union exemption."He's a very good friend for credit unions." Buddy Gill, directorof political affairs at the Texas CU League, said DeLay and hisstaff worked closely with credit unions on a number of issues. "TomDeLay was always a good credit union friend and always welcomed usinto his office and listened to our concerns," Gill told The CreditUnion Journal. The seven-term House member made his decision a fewdays after a former top aide, Tony Rudy, pleaded guilty to criminalcharges of bribery while he was working for Delay, and afteranother top aide, Michael Scanlon, pleaded guilty to criminalcharges related to the ongoing influence-peddling trial ofRepublican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a close DeLay ally.

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