Looks like the Democ…
Looks like the Democrats’ bluff has been called.

Democrats yesterday rejected an offer by House Republicans to begin an investigation into ethics accusations against Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

The offer was made by Republicans on the House ethics committee who wanted, in exchange, an agreement from Democrats to convene the ethics panel today and accept at least a revised version of the new rules for the committee.

“We do not initiate investigative committees in press conferences,” said Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, of West Virginia. The ranking Democrat on the ethics panel, Mr. Mollohan opposes the changes to committee rules that Republicans forced through earlier this year on a party-line vote.

Mr. Mollohan’s dismissal came less than an hour after the Republican offer was made public in a press conference by Rep. Doc Hastings, the chairman of the ethics committee who said he already had made the offer privately in conversations with Mr. Mollohan.

Doesn’t look like they’re serious. Here’s why.

For weeks, Mr. DeLay has openly invited an investigation by the ethics committee, accusing Democrats of stalling to prevent him from clearing his name.

“The only way I can be cleared is through the ethics committee, so they don’t want one,” Mr. DeLay told The Washington Times last week.

Mr. DeLay also accused Democrats of protecting Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, who awaits an investigation by the House ethics panel after losing a federal lawsuit that accused him of passing along an illegally taped 1997 telephone conversation. In an October ruling on that suit, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan declared that Mr. McDermott’s “willful and knowing misconduct rises to the level of malice in this case.”

“One of [Democrats’] best friends, Jim McDermott, is being investigated, and they don’t want him to be kicked out of Congress,” Mr. DeLay said last week. “I mean, this guy has been found guilty — guilty by a court of law — and they don’t want an ethics committee.”

Democrats getting convicted don’t lose any stature among Democrats. Republicans merely getting accused (by Democrats), on the other hand, is the worst thing of all in their eyes (and, they hope, the eyes of their short-attention-span constituents). The PR is more important that the ethics.

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