Getting the old gang back together again

GETTING THE OLD GANG BACK TOGETHER AGAIN…. By the time disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) left Congress, the “culture of corruption” surrounding Republicans in Washington was pervasive. GOP leaders vowed to change course, but it was too late — in 2006, with the stench of failure impossible to ignore, voters grew disgusted and Republicans lost their House majority.

That was four and a half years ago. Now, DeLay is a convicted felon, but his party is back on top, at least in the chamber in which he used to serve. Republicans are seemingly aware of what went wrong the last time, and are anxious to prove this GOP majority won’t be like the last GOP majority.

Republicans won’t formally take the reins until mid-week, but the effort to turn over a new leaf is already off to a rough start. Take staffing decisions, for example.

Danielle Maurer will be the Director of Member Services for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Maurer is not without Capitol Hill experience:

She was previously a senior floor assistant with then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s office.

Anne Thorsen will be the Speaker’s Director of Floor Operations. She’s worked on the Hill before, too:

She held a similar position in the Majority Leader’s office under Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX).

Tim Berry, meanwhile, will be the new chief of staff for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Guess who Berry used to work for?

The pick had been in doubt because Berry’s old boss, former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was recently convicted for money laundering in Texas. […]

Berry worked his way up the DeLay pecking order over ten years, from 1995 to 2005, serving as chief of staff for his last three years under “The Hammer.

So, DeLay resigned in disgrace and was convicted on money laundering charges, but the new Republican leadership team has hired DeLay’s old team to help run the chamber. Indeed, the new Speaker’s office will count on DeLay’s former aides to help manage the House floor.

In fairness, it’s worth noting that DeLay’s former team hasn’t been convicted of anything, and it’s a stretch to suggest they should never be allowed to work in politics again.

The point, though, is that the new Republican House operation is starting to look an awful lot like the old Republican House operation. DeLay’s aides will help run the show; corporate lobbyists have been brought on to shape policy; and the K Street project that Boehner swore to leave in the past is looking reconstituted.

Given the spectacular failures of the last Republican majority, getting the old gang back together isn’t exactly encouraging.