Janklow, Leaders Keep to Themselves

Posted September 23, 2003 at 5:58pm

Rep. Bill Janklow (R) has so far not sought out the advice of House GOP leaders on his political future, and the chamber’s top Republicans are currently taking a “wait and see” approach to the embattled South Dakotan’s legal predicament.

On Monday, Janklow held a press conference during which he declined to discuss the details of the August car accident that left a man dead or the criminal charges now pending against him.

According to GOP aides, Janklow has been similarly tight-lipped with House Republican leaders and has not yet given them any indication whether he plans to resign, retire or attempt to remain in office.

For their part, GOP leaders have at this point decided against trying to convince Janklow to follow any particular course.

“It’s a wait-and-see mode right now,” said a GOP leadership aide.

Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) spoke to Janklow by phone twice before the lawmaker returned to Washington last week.

“Congressman Blunt thinks Mr. Janklow is a valuable part of the team and is just glad that he’s feeling better and that he’s back at work,” said Blunt spokeswoman Burson Taylor.

Beyond hoping that Janklow’s health continues to improve, Republican leaders are waiting to see how the legal process unfolds, operating under the assumption that Janklow will eventually make the appropriate decision about his future by his own accord.

“If he starts handling it inappropriately, I’m sure someone will talk to him,” said a senior GOP aide.