A small group of Idahoans met at Rep. Mike Simpson's office last Wednesday, June 1, to represent a much larger group of Idahoans-751 of them-who had signed a petition calling on Simpson and other Republicans to "fire" Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
The petition, organized by the political action committee MoveOn, featured signatures and comments from around the state, including numerous Republicans who identified the embattled DeLay as being "too corrupt to represent us as majority leader any longer."
According to the event's organizer, Rosemary Sneeringer of Boise, she and a handful of supporters presented the petition to the congressman's secretary and read an account of a Texas civil court's May 26 ruling that DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, violated Texas campaign laws by accepting more than $500,000 in campaign contributions from corporations. By the time the group left Simpson's office, the petition had swelled to 752 signatures. After hearing their case, Sneeringer said, someone in the office signed it on the spot.
The petition was directed at Simpson not only because he serves under DeLay in the House of Representatives, but also-as many Idahoans may not know-because Simpson has in the past benefited from DeLay's financial clout. One commenter from Boise commanded to Simpson, "Don't support DeLay just because you have accepted money from him," in reference to Simpson receiving $6,171 in campaign contributions from Delay's national PAC, Americans for a Republican Majority. According to the Federal Election Commission, fellow Idaho congressman and gubernatorial candidate Butch Otter has also received $15,000 from the organization.
Other signers of the petition drew parallels between DeLay and censured Idaho politicians like Jack Noble and Brent Coles. "In Boise, we fired our mayor for spending $1500 of city money on a weekend in NYC," wrote one Ada County resident. "DeLay makes him look like a saint."