HOUSTON — Support for Tom DeLay (R-Texas) is dwindling in his home district even as the former Speaker of the House threatens to “sue any station” that runs advertisements linking him to corruption. A new poll conducted for the Houston Chronicle indicated that only half those who voted for him in ’04 would do so again today. Sixty percent gave him an overall unfavorable rating while only 28 percent gave him a favorable rating.
DeLay faces an indictment in Travis County over charges of laundering campaign funds, and has abandoned efforts to regain the House majority leader post he relinquished as a result of the indictment.
DeLay’s threat came after two public interest groups, the Campaign for America’s Future and the Public Campaign Action Fund, released television, radio and billboard ads targeting DeLay and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) for their ties to corruption.
“Rep. Tom DeLay is a central figure in the Jack Abramoff wing of the Republican Party,” said Toby Chaudhuri, communication director of the Campaign for America’s Future, in a statement responding to DeLay’s threat to sue. “He is caught in the middle of the worst corruption scandal to hit Washington since Watergate. The dirty tactics that got Rep. DeLay in this mess aren’t going to get him out.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, “The 30-second ad lists the money and travel that DeLay allegedly received from [lobbyist Jack] Abramoff and calls on the Sugar Land Republican to resign from Congress. … The ad says DeLay ‘pocketed tens of thousands in campaign contributions from’ Abramoff, which is true.”
DeLay and his political action committee have received nearly $50,000 from Abramoff and his wife. The ad reveals that DeLay has taken 48 trips to golf resorts, 100 flights aboard company jets and 200 nights at world-class resorts and hotels.
Several local Houston stations decided to pull the ad after the threats from DeLay, but it aired on CNN Headline News and CNBC in the Houston area, and is still running on local cable stations.
Meanwhile, DeLay staffers are reported to be handing in their BlackBerries and clearing out the former House majority leader’s office. They are also trying to figure out where they will go next. A lot of people are wondering where Rep. DeLay will eventually go. The question lingers “Will the Hammer go to the slammer?”