Okay, this one's an original. We heard <$Ad$>from a reader this morning who told us that Rep. Rick Renzi's (R-AZ) office is telling constituents that he didn't get a chance to vote on the DeLay Rule because he's not a member of the Republican House Conference.
(Subsequently, we learned that another emailer got the same story.)
The TPM reader thought that sounded odd. But apparently the staffer was insistent. And it sounded awfully odd to me too since I thought every Republican member of the House is by definition a member of the Republican House Conference, just like every Dem is a member of the Democratic Caucus. (Sorta like every Major League Baseball team in the American league is also a member of the American League.)
So I dropped a note to a House GOP staffer friend of mine; and when he said that was his decided impression too, I felt that something might be seriously amiss. So I rung up Renzi's office and asked to speak with the staffer the TPM reader had spoken to.
I asked the guy if it was true that Rep. Renzi really wasn't a member of the House Republican Conference and whether the office was telling constituents that this was why he couldn't vote on the DeLay Rule.
First I heard a disbelieving guffaw. But when I said we'd heard this from more than one person and that they'd spoken to him specifically, the mood changed perceptively and shifted to some awkward discussion of someone possibly having mispoken and something and the other and various other somethings and others and ...
We didn't talk much longer than that.
But while I still don't know how Rep. Renzi voted on the DeLay Rule, I think we're clear that he is a member of the House Republican Conference. So that's some progress.