Indicted DeLay leaves House leadership
The second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom
DeLay, said on Wednesday he would step aside temporarily from his leadership
post following an indictment on a campaign-finance charge.
A grand jury in Travis County, Texas, indicted DeLay on a single felony
conspiracy charge related to fund-raising activities by a political action
committee he created, CNN and the Austin American-Statesman newspaper
"I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my
position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican
Conference and the actions of the Travis County District Attorney today,"
DeLay said in a statement.
Republican Party rules require DeLay to step aside in response to an
indictment, although he can remain in Congress.
DeLay dismissed the charges as having "no basis in the facts or the law."
"This indictment is nothing more than prosecutorial retribution by a
partisan Democrat," he said in a statement.
DeLay represents a Houston-area district. He has been under investigation
by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle for possible illegal
fund-raising and use of corporate funds by his Texans for a Republican
Majority committee, or TRMPAC.
DeLay's lawyer, Bill White, said in a quote reported by CNN: "It's a
skunky indictment if they have one. Like a dead skunk in the middle of the
road, it stinks to high heaven."