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Chris Bell, Ethics Violator, Wants To Be Governor Of Texas.

Meet Chris Bell. He wants to be the next Governor of Texas.


You might have heard of him before. Bell was the lame duck Congressman [in a March 2004 primary race against fellow Democrat Al Green, he was slaughtered, receiving less than 1/3 of the votes (.pdf)] who, embittered by the redistricting which finally allowed the Texas Congressional delegation to represent Texas, filed the now-infamous ethics charges against Representative Tom DeLay. These charges are often cited as proof of a pattern of ethical or legal misconduct on the part of DeLay. As Howard Dean put it recently on Meet The Press, DeLay has "already been adjudicated" and is guilty.

You can read the entire letter admonishing Tom DeLay here, from the House Ethics Committee, on October 6, 2004, and the entire Memorandum here.

The gist of the letter: while certainly not pretty for DeLay, the committee found that Congressman DeLay had done nothing illegal or against House rules; rather, his actions merely created an appearance of impropriety.

But what about Chris Bell? His ethics rebuke flew almost entirely under the radar (meanwhile, for left-wing activists, it was a badge of honor), but Bell, unlike Tom DeLay, was actually found to have violated House ethics rules. Chris Bell was scolded by the House Ethics Committee, even more harshly than Tom DeLay:

...the Committee finds that your complaint violated Committee Rule 15(a)(4) in a number of respects. Because you personally signed and this complaint and transmitted it directly to the Committee under Committee Rule 14(a)(1), you are responsible for the contents of the complaint in their entirety, and thus you are responsible for these violations.

This is a serious matter.

The committee picked apart Bell's claims against DeLay, ripping them to shreds, piece by piece. For example, in response to Chris Bell's charge that Tom DeLay was guilty of bribery:

There can hardly be a more serious charge against a public official than that he or she solicited a bribe, i.e., something of value that is given or received specifically in exchange for an official act. Yet as the Committee noted in its analysis of Count I, the facts relating to Westar that were alleged in the complaint did not come even close to supporting this extremely serious claim.

The bi-partisan committee also condemned Bell for his obvious partisan hatchet job, noting:

...it appears there is no purpose for including excessive or inflammatory language or exaggerated charges in a complaint except in an attempt to attract publicity and, hence, a political advantage. This improper political purpose was highlighted in this instance by the various efforts you undertook to promote your complaint publicly, by including such excessive or inflammatory language or exaggerated charges in press releases and other public statements.

In other words, Chris Bell, the sore loser in Texas' completely necessary redistricting effort, sought revenge by tarnishing the highly effective Majority Leader's reputation.

Bell also colluded with far-left groups such as Public Citizen, Common Cause, and CREW, which had all been after conservative leaders for years. Because outside groups cannot file ethics complaints, they just needed a taker in the House, someone with nothing to lose. Chris Bell, a broken politician, saw a chance to recast himself as a liberal hero, all while exacting revenge on his nemesis, Tom DeLay, so he leaped at the opportunity.

Chris Bell is thus a smear artist of the highest order, the kind of divisive partisan regular Americans (and moreover, Texans) disdain.

But, you may be asking, weren't Tom DeLay's efforts to redistrict Texas just part of a partisan power grab?

Not in the least bit.

Texas is a deeply Republican state and has been for at least the past decade. Yet, in 2000, when President Bush won 3/5 of the vote (Al Gore won 38%), Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison won 2/3 of the vote, and Republicans won every other state-wide elected office in Texas, Democrats dominated the Congressional delegation 17-13. If Bush v. Gore had been thrown into the House of Representatives, Texas would have cast its vote for Gore. Think about that for a second.

Chalk that bizarre anomaly up to one factor, and one factor only: decades of Democrat gerrymandering.


Tom DeLay looked at the situation and determined Republicans were getting shafted by Democrat gerrymandering. As national majority leader from a conservative state, DeLay justifiably wanted more Republicans elected to the House in Texas. Chris Bell just happened to be one of the Democrats, one who really should have never been in Congress in the first place, squeezed out in the process.

But if Chris Bell was going down, he wasn't going to go down alone, so he attempted to take down Tom DeLay in the process. Very unclassy, very lame.

Looking ahead to 2006, Chris Bell is counting on a divisive battle between incumbent Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to split Texas Republicans and give him a shot at the Governor's mansion. He's dreaming.

Posted by Will Franklin · 25 May 2005 03:55 PM


What a nightmare that would be! Is Kay Bailey Hutchison going to run? She definately will have my vote if so!...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 25, 2005 07:21 PM

This is extremely well written and informative!

Posted by: Bill at May 25, 2005 08:04 PM


Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 25, 2005 08:46 PM

The problem with the story you tell about redistricting is that the Republicans redrew districts with a scapel to favor themselves. This mayb have happened a decade ago with the Democrats, but the Repubs did the same thing. You can spin it however you like. Tom Delay and his ilk are no worse than the ones ten years ago who did it. we need to redraw the lines of districts that accurately reflect the communities they represent.

Posted by: Irky at July 1, 2005 12:19 PM

this site is not cool. it is only for partisan hacks, jsut like daily kos is for the other side only nowhere as successful.

Posted by: irky at July 1, 2005 12:21 PM

I have sent a complaint to Chris Bell while he was my representative and I am still waiting on his reply.

Carolyn J. Buras
470 SE 4th Ave., Apt 204
Oak Harbor, Wa 98277

Posted by: Carolyn J Buras at July 14, 2005 06:38 PM

My state, Texas, will soon have a Democratic governor. Have fun.

Posted by: tx_independent at August 14, 2005 09:46 PM

Uh, no it won't. Have fun.

Posted by: Will Franklin at August 14, 2005 11:39 PM