Friday, August 19, 2005

How Menendez Helps DeLay

According to Tammany on the Hudson, Bob Menendez is helping Republican Majority Leader DeLay out more than is becoming of the third ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.

Xpatriated Texan, the blogger at Tammany, argues that Menendez's ethics violations could potentially serve as a weapon for the Republican Congress in response to the DeLay investigation.

If New Jersey Representative Bob Menendez isn't the cause of the House Democrats' problems, he's certainly a glaring symptom. According to a recent New York Times report, Menendez, the House's third-ranking Democrat, has steered hundreds of thousands of dollars in lucrative consulting contracts to a former aide. Not surprisingly, the relationship has piqued the interest of Republicans. As Bob Novak reported this week, Republicans see an ethically compromised Menendez as a deterrent to future attacks on ethically challenged and embattled Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

One would think the risk of losing Menendez in an ethics fight would be a small price to pay for toppling DeLay. But, if recent history is any indication, Democrats will beg off.

How important is Menendez to the Democrats in Congress? Is the institution that he controls more important to his party than the political opportunity that comes with the prosecution of a high level Republican for corruption?


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