U.S. Representative Tom DeLay, who stepped down as House majority leader after being indicted by a Texas grand jury on Sept. 28, said he still plans to participate in moving the Republican agenda forward.
“I can do my job, with or without the title,” DeLay said today on “Fox News Sunday.”
DeLay said he would continue to raise money and advise Speaker Dennis Hastert on initiatives to cut taxes, enforce immigration laws and reduce spending. DeLay, a Texas Republican, faces up to two years in prison on a charge of conspiracy in connection with corporate donations in his home state.
DeLay's legal problems have handed a potent political issue to Democrats, Representative Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican, said on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."
"Tom's problem isn't just this," Shays said. "It's continual acts that border and go sometimes beyond the ethical edge. They may not be illegal, but he's always pushing that ethical edge to the limit."
DeLay said on Fox that his lawyers have told him that the charges brought by Democratic prosecutor Ronnie Earle are frivolous, and that they expect the investigation to be over "very, very soon." In the meantime, DeLay plans to continue to raise money and promote the Republican agenda in the House, reports Bloomberg.
Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle won a grand jury indictment of DeLay on a charge of conspiring to illegally evade fundraising restrictions. DeLay, still in Congress, has vowed to return to his leadership post after clearing his name at trial though his future is shadowed by a tall stack of other legal and political problems.
But scholars say his methods are imprinted on Washington like a tattoo. "Even if Boss DeLay leaves, his legacy stays," said James A. Thurber, director of congressional studies at American University.
Part of the reason for this is that DeLay's temporary replacement, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), is a DeLay protege whose rapid rise was spawned by the Texas Republican. So were the careers of almost everyone else in the House Republican leadership, including Rep. Eric I. Cantor of Virginia and Thomas M. Reynolds of New York. They are all social conservatives who support such pro-business policies as deregulation and tax cuts.
The DeLay network is just as formidable in downtown Washington. Former DeLay aides Buckham, Tony Rudy and Karl Gallant form the core of one of Washington's largest and fastest-growing lobbying firms, Alexander Strategy Group.
Susan Hirschmann, a former DeLay chief of staff, is a senior member of Williams & Jensen, another major lobbying firm. Congressional aides said that these and other DeLay alumni are part of their "team" and will be welcome in their offices no matter what happens to their old boss, informs Washington Post.