Media Sets Sights On Majority Leader DeLay

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Capital insiders are saying it's only a matter of time before House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is forced to surrender his leadership position in the face of mounting criticism by the media and the Democrats in Congress.

But DeLay, who has become a major credit union supporter and ally in his leadership position, indicated last week he has no intention of surrendering.

The conservative DeLay has become a lightning rod for both his leadership style and his imperial behavior, taking overseas trips at the expense of trade groups and others trying to influence congressional policy.

And it doesn't help that several individuals close to DeLay are the target of a state grand jury investigation in Texas which is looking into the corporate financing of a campaign to elect a Republican majority in the state legislature, which led to a redrawing of congressional districts.

That facilitated the GOP winning a majority of the nation's second-largest House delegation of 32 seats and cementing its control of the House.

Also DeLay was officially cited by the House Ethics Committee for other incidents, which included suggestions that one lobby group hire a Republican, and not a Democrat, to represent it before Congress.

The leading national newspapers, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, keep hammering away at the House Leader-known as the "Hammer" for his take-no-prisoners style.

The two newspapers have published story after story and editorials about expensive overseas trips DeLay has gone on with his wife, as well as high fees the Majority Leader has paid to his wife and daughter, who act as consultants and campaign managers.

There's no question that DeLay's style and actions to build a Republican majority in Congress have angered many on the left and made him a target.

And recent criticisms by DeLay of federal judges during the controversy over Terry Schiavo, the brain-dead Florida woman whose feeding tube was removed and hastened her death, added to the ire of the critics.

But so far all this has added up to a lot of smoke and no fire, as DeLay told his constituents in an e-mail last week.

No one has been able to illustrate any illegalities or rule breaking by DeLay. And the behavior that has been documented, like expensive travel and payments to family, all legal, are something that is widespread in Congress.

The Hammer's critics are going to have to come up with a lot more if they want to force him out of office.

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