More ethics questions for Delay?

Tom Delay is accused of sneaking a huge hunk of pork into House energy bill.

Published July 28, 2005 7:48PM (EDT)

As we noted in War Room, Rep. Henry Waxman had some pretty strong words regarding the energy bill that sailed through the House yesterday. "This bill is simply a failure," Waxman said. "It's a huge waste of money."

Apparently he was just getting started. Today, Waxman went after House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, accusing him of sneaking in a $1.5 billion fund for oil and natural gas drilling -- after bill negotiations had ceased.

According to a Reuters report, Waxman said that DeLay's measure would effectively direct the Energy Department to "contract with a corporation that is constructed as a consortium." The "consortium" in question happens to be based in Sugar Land -- DeLay's home district. As if the House Majority Leader's alleged cronyism wasn't enough, one of the members of this consortium happens to be, you guessed it, Halliburton.

The report also stated that Waxman sent a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert stating that "it would be a serious abuse to secretly slip a costly and controversial provision into the energy legislation." Waxman has demanded that the fund be taken out of the legislation.

A spokesman for DeLay denied any wrongdoing, saying that the measure had been included with the rest of the legislation back in April when the House approved it.

This of course isn't the first time DeLay has been accused of getting too cozy with his energy industry buddies. Back in April, around the same time DeLay's spokesman claims the fund measure was added to the energy bill, Salon reported on DeLay's allegiance to industry polluters in Texas. Business as usual.

By J.J. Helland

J.J. Helland is Salon's editorial fellow in New York.

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