In the latter days of the Bush Administration, the House of Representatives was rocked by a long, slow burn corruption scandal known mainly by the name of Jack Abramoff, a GOP operative whose lobbying operation was at the center of much of it. But there were actually a group of scandals which collectively grew out of the system of technically legal organized corruption that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had built to run and permanently dominate the House with an iron system of money and favors. The first major blow-up was the case of disgraced ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham (after whom the Golden Dukes are named), the comically iconic Bush/DeLay Era corruption scandal. He literally produced a 'menu' for things crooked contractors could buy from him and at what cost. There was the Cunningham scandal and various sub-scandals that grew from it; there was the bigger and more wide-ranging Abramoff scandal and various sub-scandals that grew from it. But what really set the stage was something that happened in November 2004, just after President Bush's reelection and the dawn of the GOP's 'permanent majority.' That was when DeLay, then under indictment in Texas, got the GOP House caucus to push through a rules change (the 'DeLay Rule') to allow an indicted member of the leadership to remain in office.
Just tonight, at what I suspect is a historically similar moment, we have a replay in the again-GOP-run House.
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