Q&A: Tom DeLay Explains His Decision

  • Share
  • Read Later

(5 of 6)

TIME: Would Republicans have insulated themselves by doing more on lobbying reform last year, or before it became such a public issue.

DeLay: No. I think doing lobbying reform is NOT the way to deal with this. The way to deal with this is: Take 'em on! Take the left on. We have done nothing wrong. Now, there have been people that have done something wrong. And guess what? They're going to prison. What laws do you need to change? They're going to prison. Abramoff, he's going to prison. [Former DeLay Chief of Staff]Tony Rudy's going to prison. [Former DeLay Press Secretary Michael]Scanlon's going to prison. They violated laws, they were caught and they're going to prison. I'm disappointed they have violated—I mean, that the have done what they've done. But we have laws to do it. We don't need to do a [Democracy 21 President] Fred Wertheimer style of dealing with government. He wants elected officials to be isolated. He doesn't want anybody to be able to petition their government. He wants government-funded campaigns. Everything he's for, I'm against. (Chuckles) And the left is trying their best to get rid of the Republican majority and replace it with a Democrat majority and it's just not going to happen.

TIME: Were there any instances where you failed to adequately supervise people who worked in your office?

DeLay: No, no. Look: I have had hundreds of people work for me. Unfortunately, there's three—one that we let go, Scanlon—that I don't yet, I'll wait until they're found guilty. But it looks like they have violated the trust of my office. When you're in a leadership position, you have to hire people that you trust and 99.9 percent of the people that have worked for me are strong, solid, wonderful people that believe in what we're doing. And my management style is we move forward and I rely on people to do their job the best way they know how without me doing a President Carter oversight. And when you're dealing with these kinds of things, you're going to have people violate that trust. And that's unfortunate. But that office did some pretty amazing things. And I'm very proud of the people that worked for me and that have accomplished some wonderful things.

TIME: But it turns out that at least two people were committing crimes while they were on your staff—accepting things of value.

DeLay: And that's incredibly disappointing. I'm incredibly sad that that was going on. But my dealings with them were on issues. And moving the agenda of the majority in the House had nothing to do with their person indiscretions. It's unfortunate that that was going on. It was also six, seven years ago.

TIME: In public life, have you ever committed a crime?

DeLay: No.

TIME: Have you ever done anything unethical?

DeLay: No.

TIME: Since you left Baylor University, say, have you done anything immoral?

DeLay: No. Oh! (Laughs) Are you kidding? Everybody does some things—we're all sinners.

TIME: My mother used to say: You're known by the company you keep. Another way of saying that is: If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Is that part of your problem?

DeLay: No. I had 21 years in Congress. Hundreds of people, wonderful people have worked for me. Two people violated my trust over 21 years. I guarantee you if other offices were under the scrutiny I've been under in the last 10 years, with the Democrat Party announcing that they're going to destroy me, destroy my reputation, and that's how they're going to get rid of me, I guarantee you you're going to find out of hundreds of people, somebody that's probably done something wrong. I hope that people will look at what we've been able to accomplish, regardless of what they did. The advancement of the conservative agenda, we've been able to turn around the left's agenda over the last 11 years. I'm incredibly proud of what we've been able to do in this district and for the state of Texas and for the nation. And I'm very disappointed with two people.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6