CLIMBDOWN. The House Republican leadership has abandoned a planned change in ethics rules.

The proposal would have made it more difficult for lawmakers to discipline a colleague for unethical behavior and would have allowed Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) to keep his post if he is indicted by a Texas grand jury that is looking into his campaign finance practices.

Before the GOP leadership reversed itself, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), chairman of the House ethics committee, had denounced the proposed changes to ethics rules. "This package is not bipartisan," Hefley said.

The sudden reversal came amid growing indications of dissension within the GOP. Just before House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's office announced that the measures were being dropped, the chairman of the House ethics committee issued an unusual statement denouncing the leadership's plan.


Andrew Sullivan correctly notes,
Bending ethics rules for their own purposes was never going to fly.
Chris at Signifying Nothing also comments.

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