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Novak: Tom DeLay guilty only of bad judgment

"Before Tom DeLay suddenly let it be known Monday night that he would resign from Congress, the word in Republican circles had been that he envisioned a post-leadership career in the House as an Appropriations subcommittee and perhaps eventually full committee chairman. Such a role as a dispenser of federal pork would seem paradoxical for the congressional embodiment of the conservative movement.

There is no sign of extravagant living on DeLay's part -- only bad judgment. DeLay told me last year that he accepted lobbyist-arranged golf abroad because that was his only chance ever to play a game he dearly loved. The shrewd congressional leader did not perceive the dangers facing him when he took that course.

DeLay's greatest peril is the federal investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff that now has moved into the heart of the former majority leader's office, with two former aides pleading guilty. This has cut into DeLay's formerly solid base of support in his home district and led him to decide this week that any other Republican would have a better chance of retaining the congressional seat.

But what about the greed and mendacity of some of the bright young people who worked for Tom DeLay? The suspicion is that the power politics he practiced for the public good was transmuted by those aides into their private gain. It is a stain on what the legacy should be for the most effective legislator of his time."

Get the Story:
Robert Novak: Tom Delay's Paradox (The Lincoln Tribune 4/6)

Relevant Documents:
Charges: US v Rudy | Factual Proffer

Relevant Links:
Rep. Tom DeLay -

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