September 29, 2005
US house majority leader Tom DeLay had been indicted on conspiracy charges. DeLay has announced he will temporarily step down.
After a long investigation a Texas grand jury indicted Congressman Tom Delay on conspiracy charges in a campaign finance scheme. The house majority leader announced he will step aside for now.
"This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictment in American history," said Delay.
Two political associates are charged alongside Delay. The scandal has been swirling around the high ranking Republican's political action committee for months. The White House stands by DeLay but says they want the legal process to work this out.
"Congressmen DeLay is a good ally, a leader who we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people," said White House Spokesperson Scott McClellan.
Political analysts expect the news to spark controversy.
"Republicans will probably charge that it's a partisan attack and they'll maintain his innocence, Democrats might talk about how he's had a past experience of ethics problems," said Matt Smyth of the UVa Center for Politics.
Democrat David Toscano believes today's announcement is good news.
"I think Tom DeLay represents the extreme in political discourse in this country and I think it would be good to get back to the center, " said David Toscano, Democratic Candidate for the 57th District.
Right now, the Republicans are already scrambling to find a temporary replacement for DeLay. They could make that decision as early as Wednesday. If DeLay is found guilty, he could face anywhere from six months to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. He would also have to step down under House Republican rules.