The Republicans' other legal problems

On any other day, an arrest warrant for the House majority leader might be considered big news.

Published October 19, 2005 7:12PM (EDT)

Amid all the tea-leaf reading and breath holding over Plamegate, it's easy to forget that there are a few other legal matters ensnaring top Republicans. Here are a couple of reminders.

As the Associated Press just reported, a court in Austin, Texas, has issued an arrest warrant for displaced House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The warrant requires DeLay to appear at the Fort Bend County Jail, where he'll be fingerprinted, photographed and booked before being released on a $10,000 bond. It's a routine procedure for those charged with a crime, but DeLay's lawyers hoped that their client -- like many white-collar defendants -- would be spared the indignity of it all by way of some other, less public arrangement. DeLay is due in court Friday morning.

As the Washington Post reported yesterday, Ohio Rep. Robert Ney has been caught up in the investigation into the dealings of indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Post says that Ney accepted "many favors from Abramoff, among them campaign contributions, dinners at the lobbyist's downtown restaurant, skybox fundraisers, including one at his MCI Center box, and a golfing trip to Scotland in August 2002," while coming to the aid of Abramoff's clients.

Meanwhile, in the other house of Congress, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist tells the Associated Press that he's cooperating with federal investigators looking into his suspiciously timed sale of stock in his family's healthcare business --- and that he's sure he'll be exonerated once the investigations are over. "Let me just say that all information that has been requested is provided quickly and as fast as possible because it's to my advantage to have the facts out," Frist said.

Maybe he's right, but it wasn't so long ago that we heard a fellow named Scooter say pretty much the same thing.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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