TPJ, Public Citizen, Campaigns for People say independence is critical
|For Immediate Release:|
For More Information Contact:
|July 15, 2004|
Craig McDonald, 512-472-9770
|Fred Lewis, Campaigns for People: 512-472-1007|
Tom “Smitty” Smith, Public Citizen/Texas: 512-477-1155
In Washington today, national reform groups including Common Cause, Judicial Watch, Campaign Legal Resources, Democracy 21 and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington also called for the appointment of an outside prosecutor.
The reform groups contend that the Ethics Committee, comprised of five Democratic and five Republican members of the House, cannot be objective in reviewing the complaint against one of the bodies’ most powerful leaders, particularly since 4 of the 5 Republicans have benefited from campaign contributions from DeLay. Outside prosecutors were appointed by the Committee in previous investigations against former speakers Jim Wright and Newt Gingrich.
“The House investigation of Rep. DeLay must be fair and above reproach. That's why a special prosecutor should be appointed,” said Fred Lewis, President of Campaigns for People.
“Why do we need an independent prosecutor? Tom DeLay, better known as 'the hammer,' is likely to have his prepaid, congressional workers nail the door to his investigation shut,” said Tom 'Smitty' Smith, director of Public Citizen/Texas. “But there is another reason too, since the illegal campaign contributions were solicited across state lines, some of the investigations may need to occur in Texas, Kansas and other states. The investigator needs to be given the authority to use federal investigative resources.”
“DeLay’s underlings should not be entrusted to pass judgement on their leader,” said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice. “This investigation will only be credible if it is independent of DeLay’s widespread political influence.”