The Note: I Made It Through the Night

"Some members said they feared that once the committee was revived, it could find itself dealing with an ethics war -- with each party filing charges against opposing members over travel and other issues."

"[House Speaker Dennis] Hastert also suggested that the media was to blame for the issue having become a distraction," Roll Call's Ben Pershing reports.

[dramatic pause]

"More to the point, the top GOP source said, a serious investigation gives House leaders an excuse to dodge reporters' questions about the matter," Tom DeFrank and James Gordon Meek write in the New York Daily News. LINK

The astute Brody Mullins reminds the world of the political calculations inherent to any discussion of congressional ethics: "The shift represents a new political calculation by House Republicans that the relentless news reports about Mr. DeLay's travels and dealing with lobbyists could hurt the party during next year's elections. Republicans hold a slim 53.3% to 46.4% majority in the House. A shift of just more than a dozen seats in the 2006 elections could move the party back into the minority after a decade-long run in charge."

"The restoration of the rules means that if the committee deadlocks, complaints could be automatically sent to a special investigatory subcommittee, though that trigger has not been needed in the past. The panel has no prohibition on a lawyer's representing multiple clients, though some panel members believe one is needed and discourage the practice," writes the New York Times' Carl Hulse. LINK

"Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the Ohio Democrat who sits on the House ethics committee, has provided a sworn statement and canceled checks as proof that a trip she took to Puerto Rico wasn't improperly paid for by a lobbyist, as her official paperwork initially stated. The June 2001 trip was actually paid for by Todo Puerto Rico con Vieques (TPRV), a group formed to protest the U.S. Navy's bombing range in Vieques, according to the sworn statement by group representatives," the Washington Times reports. LINK

Ethics: Leader DeLay:

Reps. Feeney and Sweeney are coordinating Rep. Tom DeLay's defense at the caucus level, The Hill reports. LINK

Now that the congressional probe is likely, DeLay is in real danger of being found in violation of ethics rules, the Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum writes, and it could come down to whether he can successfully convince the panel that he didn't know what the lobbyists did. LINK

"History shows, however, that once an ethics investigation is started against congressional leaders such as DeLay, they usually don't get away unscathed. The ethics committee already admonished DeLay three times last year for a variety of lapses. The panel can also look into other issues that come up during its investigation. . . . . This time DeLay could be admonished, censured or, at worst, expelled by a House vote -- if the chamber takes any action at all."

The New York Times' Anne Kornblut Notes -- unoriginally -- that many of DeLay's congressional defenders have given his campaign and defense fund moolah. LINK

Sometimes a Cuban is just a Cuban. LINK As in a cigar. In the mouth of Tom DeLay. Time.com has the story.

Our favorite paragraph from The New Republic's Michael Crowley on Jack Abramoff in Sunday's New York Times Magazine:

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