The Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee launched a website that aims to bring
new attention to ethics charges hounding House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), RAW
STORY has learned.
of Scandal," echoes a similar
site launched by the Washington watchdog Citizens
for Ethics earlier today. But the decision for the Democratic
Party to back such a sharp online slap at the Republican
leader marks a new strategy by the party to add interactivity
to a series of scandals dogging the House Republican
leader that have often been too complex for the average
In a bold move, the Democratic campaign committee
has also replaced their own website with the DeLay-themed
most significantly, the site attempts to tie the entire
membership of the House Republican caucus to their embattled
leader. Residents of any district will be able to pull
up a listing for their congressmember (if he or she
is a Republican) and see statements and contributions
related to DeLay.
of Scandal" adds sounds and interactivity to a
series of ethics scandals, some of which have resulted
in DeLay being rebuked by his colleagues.
On the site,
DeLay's image is surrounded by some of his past associates
that the congressman has sought to distance himself
from, many of whom are being investigated or face charges
of illegal campaign activity. When a cursor centers
over DeLay's image, the visitor hears the sound of shattered
glass; when browsing over the images of his associates—including
fallen lobbyists Jack Abramoff and former DeLay press
secretary Michael Scanlon—a laser-like sound is
In a conference
call Thursday evening, Democratic Campaign Committee
Chair Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (D-IL) said the site is aimed
at being an "information resource catalog"
to see "the connecting dots" between DeLay
and other Republicans.
members will have gotten caught in this nexus," Emmanuel
said. "Those that did and got political nourishment
from it—we'll make that known."
Democratic strategists say that they hope DeLay will
hang on—saying that the longer DeLay remains in
power, the more time the Party will have to tie his
scandals to other members. This position was echoed
today by the British magazine The Economist.
Democrats will pick up more House seats in the 2006
midterm elections if they can prove DeLay's relationships
with other Republican congressmembers.
the new site represents a change in strategy, DCCC press
secretary Sarah Feinberg demurred to answer directly.
an attempt to break down the scandals, the abuses of
power, and the ethics troubles in a database that is
easily accessible," Feinberg said.
Earlier this week, according to The
Hill, DeLay told a throng of reporters in a press
briefing that he will not speak publicly about "anything
but the legislative agenda."
If DeLay's right-hand man is right, Republican lawmakers
won't peel away from DeLay anytime soon. Rep. Roy Blunt
(R-MO) is next in line to succeed DeLay should he be
ousted, putting him in the tenuous position of defending
DeLay and being ready to campaign for his spot should
he be deposed.
"Tom DeLay is an effective leader," Blunt
Wednesday, "The members understand that. I think
they have a lot of appreciation for that. And right
now they're sticking with him."
On the Republican
side of the aisle, only one member has called for his
resignation; Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) called DeLay an
"absolute embarrassment" to the Republican
GOP centrist, stands alone in his call. Other Republicans—including
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-CT)—have
said DeLay needs to answer questions, but have not gone
so far as to suggest DeLay should resign.
Article originally published Apr. 14, 2005.