The Note

"This is a rare event," Douglass Notes. "After the toppling of two House Speakers for ethics violations (one Democrat, on Republican), there has been an informal 7-year truce between the parties when it comes to ethics investigations. There are some informal inquiries underway, initiated by the committee itself. But this is one of the first where a formal complaint has been filed. Only a House member can file a complaint against another member. Outside groups cannot file complaints with the committee."

"Bell's complaint focuses on 3 allegations:"

"1. That DeLay took a contribution from Westar in return for trying to change a federal regulation in the company's favor. 2. That DeLay's PAC illegally funneled corporate funds into a campaign to win Republican control of the state legislature (a Texas D.A. is investigating that) ; and 3. That DeLay abused his power by asking the FAA to help track those Democratic legislators who sneaked out of Texas to avoid a redistricting vote."

"It's not clear if Bell's complaint will go anywhere. Neither party has wanted to release the ethics dogs for fear the dogs could come running their way some day. But the committee cannot just throw this complaint in the trash. It comes from a member, and committee members will be forced to at least look at it."

Jonathan Grella, DeLay's spokesman, responded last night to news of Bell's complaint: ""These are warmed-over and factually deficient allegations from a bitter partisan on his way out of office. This election year scorched-earth strategy is doomed to fail, as have all previous attempts of this cynical and sad sort that make a mockery of the process."'

The Washington Post's Charles Babington reports that Bell's plans to file an ethics complaint against DeLay will shatter "the remnants of a seven-year-old, unwritten ethics truce between the two parties and possibly nudging the House back toward a brand of political warfare that helped topple two speakers." LINK

"As Congress prepared for action on its biggest tax bill of this year, many senators had a personal as well as political stake in the domestic manufacturing companies that have emerged as key beneficiaries, according to 2003 financial disclosure statements released yesterday," reports the Washington Post's Helen Dewar. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Shailagh Murray reports that the House Ways and Means Committee passed the corporate tax bill that offers companies tax breaks in exchange for doing away with the export subsidy that had caused such problems with the WTO.

"The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that it foresaw a significant, growing deficit in the Social Security program, but it concluded that the long-term outlook was less dire than the Bush administration had projected," reports the New York Times' Robert Pear. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

President Bush doesn't visit Reno until Friday, but they're already atwitter in Northern Nevada about the first visit by a Republican president to the area since 1988. LINK and LINK

Nevada workers rights advocates, joined by a "high-ranking surrogate" from the Kerry campaign, turned in 80,000 signatures yesterday in an effort to get on the ballot a measure that would raise the state's minimum wage to $6.15 an hour. LINK

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