Ive always thought of

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I’ve always thought of Rep. Ray Lahood (R-IL) as a moderate Bob Michel Republican. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose, and apparently that means everyone in the GOP has to drink the Kool-Aid.

Lahood, appearing on Face the Nation this morning, lauded Denny Hastert as an paragon of ethics and good government:

He took care of Tom DeLay, his best friend. When Tom was having ethical problems, the speaker went to him and asked him to leave. When he appointed Duke Cunningham to the Intelligence Committee, he went to Duke and made sure he wasn’t on the Intelligence Committee after it was disclosed he took $2.3 million. And when Bob Ney was appointed chairman of the House Administration Committee, he was appointed by Speaker Hastert. Speaker Hastert went to him and told him to step down from that committee after the Abramoff disclosures.

Setting aside Hastert’s obviously bad record of appointing good people (or is it good record of appointing bad people?), Lahood knows this version of events isn’t accurate. Not even close.

Delay hung on for months, years even, under an ethical cloud. Just this weekend it was reported that Hastert’s staff was instrumental in passage of the Delay Rule, which would have permitted Delay to remain as majority leader even after a felony indictment against him, until public outcry forced the GOP caucus to rescind the rule change.

Duke was gone from Congress so fast it made your head spin. I can’t find any record of Cunningham stepping down from the Intel Committee before he resigned from Congress, which he didn’t do until he entered his guilty plea to the corruption charges. The Duke story broke in June 2005. He announced in July 2005 that he wouldn’t seek re-election. In November 2005, he entered his guilty plea and announced his resignation from Congress. In December 2005, the Intel Committee announced a shuffle of positions resulting from Duke’s departure. In April 2006, Hastert announced Duke’s replacement on the committee. Nothing in that timeline suggests early intervention by Hastert.

As for Ney, there is some truth to Lahood’s assertion, but an incomplete half truth at best. Hastert did push him to resign his chairmanship, but not until after Jack Abramoff’s guilty plea. In bears noting that as of right now Ney is still a Member of Congress.

Hastert has stonewalled, resisted, enabled, ignored, participated–well, you get the idea. He is the longest serving GOP Speaker in history. One of the most corrupt Congresses in history is his legacy. He built it. He owns it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

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