DeLay Appointed to ACU Board, Four Resign

Four board members of the American Conservative Union have resigned in protest over disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s appointment to the board.

As Tom DeLay pursues a return to the public stage, he’s meeting resistance from an unexpected source: conservatives who say that he betrayed the movement as a congressional leader. Four board members of the American Conservative Union, one of the oldest and best established voices of the conservative movement, resigned recently when DeLay was brought onto the board.

DeLay’s roles in ramping up government spending and establishing a system of raising money through close dealings with lobbyists were cited by resigning members as their motive for moving on. “He was part of a congressional leadership that oversaw a massive expansion of the government, which conservatives opposed,” said Robert Luddy, a North Carolina businessman among the board members who resigned. “It is one thing to call yourself a conservative, but you have to act on it.”

The sentiment was echoed by political strategist Marc Rotterman, another board defector. “Conservatives looked to Tom DeLay to cut government not grow it. He was complicit in the largest expansion of government in recent times.”

DeLay, the former U.S. House majority leader from Sugar Land, joined the ACU board in February, after lengthy negotiations with the influential group concerning his role, said chairman David Keene. Keene said he understood there would be some trepidation in conservative ranks about forging a relationship with DeLay. But he said the positives DeLay offered in terms of contacts and experience outweighed misgivings. “When I introduced him (to ACU members) I said that, like a number of Republicans, Tom had done some work on the dark side,” Keene recalled. “Now, he wants to harness his abilities for our agenda.”

Keene said he has no second thoughts about keeping DeLay on the 33-member board, which receives no pay. “Who can you think of better than Tom DeLay to be sitting in the room when you are setting priorities with Congress?” he asked.

This is the same David Keene and ACU which continues to invite Ann Coulter to speak at CPAC. I’m afraid that ACU, whose ratings of congressmen have literally defined “conservative” for many people, have gone the way of the old line civil rights groups, more interested in self-aggrandizement for its leaders than in fighting for what it purports to believe in.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    I noticed that nobody in the article seemd at all upset by the fact that DeLay’s under indictment. When’s his trial again?

  2. James Joyner says:

    I noticed that nobody in the article seemd at all upset by the fact that DeLay’s under indictment.

    Presumably, those of us who don’t want conservatives to legitimate DeLay are concerned more about the underlying conduct than whether it turns out to be technically criminal. At best, DeLay is a non-criminal scumbag.

    When’s his trial again?

    Good question. As best I can tell, they’re still wrangling over the various indictments and thrown out charges.

  3. legion says:

    Fair enough. But in this day & age, it seems nothing short of having the cell door clang shut behind someone takes away their legitimacy. If DeLay doesn’t wind up actually going to jail, you can bet he’ll be running for his old seat again in the very next cycle…