WASHINGTON, DC - The League of Conservation Voters today re-released it's "Tom's Tainted Team" report (PDF) of ten members of Congress who are financially beholden to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), and called upon each of them to return campaign funds given to them by Rep. DeLay until his legal issues involving alleged illegal campaign finance practices are resolved.
Each of the ten members of "Tom's Tainted Team" earned the designation by exercising remarkably bad policy judgments, starting with their votes for a special interest provision in the original House energy bill to protect the makers and refiners of the dangerous chemical, MTBE from pollution liability. They cast these votes despite the fact that each represents districts and states with drinking water supplies contaminated by MTBE and pending lawsuits against the MTBE polluters.
These members also took campaign cash from the oil and gas industries that knowingly manufactured and sold this defective product while at the same time taking at least $20,000 dollars in contributions from the Political Action Committee (ARMPAC) of Congress' biggest MTBE Champion, Rep. Tom DeLay. Adding to insult to injury, these 10 members also turned a blind eye to Rep. DeLay's ethics issues by voting in January to change House Ethics Rules to help shield DeLay from investigations.
"While this latest ethical cloud hangs over Congressman Tom DeLay, the decent thing for these members to do would be to return the money they took from him until this issue is resolved," said LCV President Deb Callahan. "If they cannot be shamed into that, perhaps they could put the money in a trust and donate the interest to hurricane relief until Rep. DeLay's case has worked its way through the courts."
The 10 Members of "Tom's Tainted Team" and their campaign contributions from Rep. DeLay are as follows:
Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO) - $30,000
Rep. Chris Chocola (R-IN) - $40,000
Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA-11) - $25,000
Rep. Katherine Harris (FL-13) - $20,000
Rep. Mark Kennedy (MN-06) - $29,500
Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ-1) - $30,000
Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-3) - $30,000
Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32) - $26,644
Rep. Clay Shaw (Fl-22) - $30,020
Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-1) - $46,959
"It's worse enough that these members are siding with MTBE and big oil polluters over their constituents, but the fact that they continue to support one of the most ethically challenged members of Congress in history and take his 'tainted' money is unconscionable," said Ms. Callahan.