DeLay to resign from Congress as legal battles continue

DeLay to resign from Congress as legal battles continue

[JURIST] US Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) [official website; JURIST news archive] said Tuesday that he is resigning [press release] from his seat in the US House of Representatives [official website] rather than enter a tough re-election race this fall. DeLay permanently stepped down from his post [JURIST report] as GOP House Majority Leader in January after being indicted [JURIST report] for allegedly funneling corporate donations into the campaign funds of state legislature candidates, which is a felony under the Texas Penal Code [text]. The case is currently ongoing. In a videotaped message [part one; part two] to his constituents Tuesday, DeLay said:

So today, I am announcing my intention to resign my seat in the House. I will make that resignation effective sometime before mid-June, but largely dependent on the congressional calendar. I plan to begin focusing on the next phase of my life as a private citizen….

I have no fear whatsoever about any investigation into me or my personal or professional activities.

As one of my colleagues in the House leadership astutely observed a while back, the wheels of justice turn much more slowly than the wheels of allegation.

I will be quite content to be judged when the passage of time has provided both all of the facts and a greater sense of perspective than is possible for most today.

In an interview with Fox News Tuesday, DeLay said that a campaign to hold on to his seat was winnable [Fox News report] but would have gotten "nasty."

Last week, a former aide of DeLay, Tony Rudy [SourceWatch backgrounder], pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to illegal actions while working in DeLay's office as part of a conspiracy with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff [BBC Q/A, JURIST report] to corrupt public officials. DeLay has not been charged with wrongdoing in that case and has continuously denied the money laundering charges [JURIST document] against him. Unless a special election is ordered by Texas Gov. Rick Perry [official website] to fill DeLay's seat, it will remain open until the November election later this year. AP has more.