The Note: Blessed Is He Who Expects Nothing . . .

Carefully balancing himself on the political/ethical tightrope, Republican Congressman Jim Leach sided with Democrats in a House measure passed on Thursday that could prove detrimental to Leader Tom DeLay, relays Thomas Beaumont in today's Des Moines Register. Although unavailable for comment this time around, it should be Noted that he held a similar opinion years ago regarding another Republican House Majority Leader. . . . LINK

"Leach, who represents the 2nd Congressional District, was one of two House Republicans to vote against the Iraq war resolution in 2002. Last week, Leach was the only House Republican to vote against repealing the estate tax."

"In 1997, as House Banking Committee chairman, Leach became the first member of GOP leadership and only the second House Republican to call for Gingrich to step down as speaker after a committee found he had violated ethics rules."

"'The speaker of the House of Representatives is the leader of the greatest legislative body in the world and second to the vice president in line of succession to the presidency,' Leach said, according to press reports at the time. 'The occupant of this position must be free of any shadow concerning allegiance to the law or to the truth.'"

USA Today's editorial board argues for a public hearing of the allegations against DeLay. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Scott Gold on Sunday wrapped DeLay's speech to the NRA in Houston Saturday, where he focused on the Second Amendment and not directly on his ethics troubles. LINK

DeLay's fundraising continues unabated, AP reported Sunday. His PAC brought in more than $438,000 in the first quarter. LINK

Carl Hulse of the New York Times provides a nice review of the rules changes currently bottling up the House Ethics Committee. LINK

"At the center of the rules fight are three basic changes: one to allow the dismissal of a complaint if a majority of the panel cannot agree on how to proceed after 45 days, another to allow lawyers to represent multiple participants in any inquiry and a third to allow lawmakers a chance to respond if they are to be named in committee reports."

Make sure to read the lede of the article carefully.

The New York Times Christine Hauser strangely manages to miss Bob Dole's call for DeLay to explain himself in her roundup of the Sunday shows. LINK

Luckily, the New York Daily News' James Gordon Meeks was watching closely. LINK

On Sunday, the Washington Post's Tom Edsall traced the evolution of the Heritage Foundation's stance on Malaysia from sharply critical of the former prime minister's autocratic government to sponsoring trips and briefing members of Congress on the ways the country was "standing up for democracy," coinciding with a consulting firm that counts among its senior staff Linda Feulner, the wife of Heritage president Edwin Feulner, and Ken Sheffer, the former head of the nonprofit's Asia office who's still on the payroll. There's also the possibility that the think tank is treading close to a line threatening its status as a nonprofit. Note that Jack Abramoff's firm was also compensated by Malaysia around the same time. LINK

Filibuster showdown:

Bob Novak's Saturday weekend said -- Frist has the votes . . . LINK

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