DeLay To Supporters: I'm Clean

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, listens to a question about the death of Terri Schiavo in this March 31, 2005 file photo in Houston. The White House said Wednesday April 13, 2005 that President Bush considers DeLay a friend but suggested he's more a business associate than a social pal.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, under an ethical cloud in recent months, has told supporters that he has "never been found to have violated any law or rule by anyone."

In a mailing made public Monday, the Texas Republican's campaign added a defiant rebuttal to the letter, saying, "Democrats have made clear that their only agenda is the politics of personal destruction, and the criminalization of politics.

"They hate Ronald Reagan conservatives like DeLay and they hate that he is an effective leader who succeeds in passing the Republican agenda."

A spokesman for DeLay said the letter and accompanying multi-page rebuttal were sent last week to supporters and donors.

DeLay has been under siege in part because the House ethics committee admonished him last fall and in part because of questions raised in news reports about three overseas trips he took in recent years.

He has strenuously denied any wrongdoing and said he wants to appear before the chairman and senior Democrat on the ethics committee to clear himself.

The ethics controversy surrounding DeLay has spilled over to the panel itself. Democrats, accusing Republicans of pushing through a unilateral rules change to protect DeLay, have refused to allow the committee to conduct business.

While DeLay and others accuse Democrats of seeking political points from the controversy, some Republicans have privately begun to express concern that the party could be damaged unless a way is found out of the impasse.

In an overture to Democrats on the panel, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the chairman, offered last week to change portions of the new rules. His proposal was swiftly rejected.

Republicans, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said they expect Hastings to make another attempt at compromise in the next several days.

A spokesman for DeLay confirmed the authenticity of the mailing to supporters after it was obtained independently.