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Weasel. Snake. Pesticide salesman. Corrupt as hell, and protected by his GOP cronies.

I love this. Accountability. Yesterday, the “Protect Felon-to-be-DeLay” measure was passed, and it looks like trying to get someone on the record as having voted for the measure is a problem. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has been making some calls and is not coming up with many answers…

As of 2:30 PM this afternoon we’ve had TPM readers contacting quite a few Republican members of congress about how they voted on the DeLay Rule. And it seems fair to say that aside from member of congress from tomato-red districts, a very large percentage Republican representatives find one way or another of not answering their constituents when they ask how their rep. voted.

Whether it’s Pennsylvania’s Jim Gerlach, whose office won’t say how he voted, or Roscoe Bartlett in Maryland, who also won’t say, most just find some way to dodge the question or insist the answer is private.

Apparently there’s one Republican rep. from Florida who claims a vote never even took place. We’ll follow up on that and report back if we hear more.

UPDATE: TPM has heard more, and boy these Republicans are like roaches when a light gets switched on in a flop house…it’s disgusting. Some tidbits:

What we’re hearing a lot of are cases where the Rep. in question either says the vote was private or their staffers claim not to know how they voted. Interestingly enough, there seems to be a high correlation between these responses and whether the member is a moderate and/or in a swing district. We’re also getting a slew of reports of members who will only respond to constituents in writing about whether they supported the DeLay Rule.

Besides DeLay Rule letter-writers, there’s also a growing list of members who simply tell their constituents it was a “private vote” and refuse to answer any questions.

High on that list is Vernon Ehlers of Michigan, Jim Saxton of New Jersey (though we have some conflicting word there), Howard Coble of North Carolina (though again his staff has made some conflicting statements), and Denny Rehberg of Montana.

…A little side note on the DeLay Rule vote. If we can go by comments released by congressional offices, quite a substantial number of Republican members of congress happened to have stepped out of the room (to get food, go to the bathroom, attend to constituent business, etc.) right about the time they did the voice vote on the DeLay Rule.

Illinois’s Tim Johnson, for instance, just couldn’t make it. He was there for most of the meeting but had to step out for a “constituent meeting,” according to TPM readers who’ve called his congressional office. He has no official position on the DeLay Rule at all.

Presumably they still had a quorum.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding