Calling All Members

Posted March 23, 2004 at 6:24pm

Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer has renewed his call for an ethics inquiry into House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R-Texas) charitable organization, Celebrations for Children Inc., which he contends DeLay is “misusing” and “abusing” by allowing CFC to pay for lavish parties for lawmakers at the upcoming Republican National Convention. [IMGCAP(1)]

On Tuesday, Wertheimer dispatched a formal complaint to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and sent copies of the complaint to all House Members. He asked that Members transmit the complaint to the committee.

“If just one House Member is willing to act to defend the institutional integrity of the House, the Ethics Committee will be forced to proceed with an inquiry that is demanded by the facts in the DeLay case,” Wertheimer wrote.

DeLay aides have repeatedly defended their boss’s involvement with Celebrations for Children, insisting that there is nothing improper about the group or its fundraising operations, which benefit abused children.

“These Democrat front groups are engaged in dirty campaign politics. Their entire complaint rests on the contention that raising money for abused foster children doesn’t reflect credibly on the House. Majority Leader DeLay strenuously disagrees,” DeLay spokesman Jonathan Grella told The Associated Press earlier this month.

Height Reaches New Height. President Bush will join House and Senate leaders today to award the Congressional Gold Medal to longtime civil rights advocate Dorothy Height.

Leaders will present Congress’ highest civil honor at 1 p.m. in the Capitol. Height becomes the eighth black person and the third black woman to receive the medal.

Height, a noted 1960s leader, served for 40 years as the president of the National Council of Negro Women and is credited with much of the success of the National Young Women’s Christian Association.

“Dr. Dorothy I. Height is one of America’s greatest heroines. If it were not for her lifelong commitment to social justice, there would be no Congressional Black Caucus,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the caucus’ chairman. “She has stood on the front lines of every major social movement in modern American history and personally experienced the extraordinary moments that have moved our nation closer to a society that truly leaves no one behind.”

— Amy Keller and Erin P. Billings