Yesterday’s Houston Chronicle names my family’s home district, Pennsylvania’s sixth, as the nation’s top swing district for the 2006 elections. The article previews the strategy rightly being pushed by Howard Dean and others (with too little support from Congressional Democrats) to nationalize these elections as referenda on the corrupt record of Tom DeLay and his enablers, like our Congressman Jim Gerlach. Gerlach’s response?
Gerlach said the Texan’s ethics controversies would have little impact in the district, saying that most voters here “don’t know who Tom DeLay is.”
Unfortunately for Gerlach, a great and growing number of us know all too well who Tom DeLay is. We know Tom DeLay violated House Ethics Rules by taking a vacation in Moscow paid for by a front group for Russian government lobbyists and claiming it was funded by a non-profit in DC. We know Tom DeLay broke the same law on a trip to South Korea paid for by lobbyists for that government. We know Tom DeLay’s PAC is under investigation for illegally funneling cash from big business. And we know that each of Tom DeLay’s scandals stems from his close working relationship with embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose theft of millions of dollars from Native American tribes John McCain called “simply and sadly a tale of betrayal.” We also know that Jim Gerlach, who claims to be an independent representative of the people of Pennsylvania’s sixth district, voted repeatedly to weaken ethics rules on Tom DeLay’s behalf and donated $2,000 to his Legal Defense Fund. Jim Gerlach sides with Tom DeLay on nine out of ten votes, supporting destructive and irresponsible fiscal, social, and foreign policy that hurts our district. Jim Gerlach’s problem is that his constituents know Tom DeLay, we know Jim Gerlach, and we know that we can do better.