Republican rulesHulshoff and LaTourette were removed from the House ethics committee because they stood up to Republican Majority Leader, Tom Delay (R-Texas). The ethics committee reprimanded DeLay three times last year for ethics violations. The move was seen by most as a blatant attempt to wrangle in the ethics committee and punish Republican members who would seek to question DeLays numerous questionable tactics.
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.), the two Republican members removed by the GOP leadership from the House Standards of Official Conduct Committee along with former chairman Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), are declining to join Hefley in co-sponsoring a bill to repeal changes made earlier this year to House ethics rules. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) and would reverse changes to ethics procedure that GOP leaders implemented in the rules package for the 109th Congress. LaTourette dismissed out of hand the possibility of co-sponsoring Mollohan's bill. But Hulshof said he would not sign onto the bill at this time, leaving open the possibility of future support. So far Hefley and Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) are the only Republican cosponsors. Rep. Rob Simmons, a fellow Republican centrist from Connecticut, said he will not sign on as a cosponsor, indicating that Mollohan has a way to go before attracting significant Republican support for his bill.
It was announced a few days ago that DeLay is yet again being investigated for possible ethics violations involving overseas junkets to South Korea.