Springfield State Journal Register

October 28, 2005

LaHood: Charges could be bad for Bush, Republicans

COPLEY NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON - Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, said Thursday that any criminal indictment of top White House aides in the CIA leak investigation could be disastrous for President Bush and the Republican Party.

Asked about speculation that the special counsel working with a federal grand jury might indict Karl Rove, Bush's longtime political adviser, or I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lahood said, "If high government officials are indicted tomorrow, I believe they'll immediately step down."

They should, he added, because they would spend all their time trying to defend themselves.

"But it would be a disaster," LaHood conceded. "There is no good way to spin this ... It will be a political disaster for the president to lose his friend and closest ally. This will not be good for our party, it will not be good for the president. We'll have a lot of ground to make up."

The special counsel is expected to announce the result of his investigation today.

Republicans already are struggling with the backlash from indictments of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, for alleged "money laundering" in connection with a state campaign and investigations of Senate Majority Leader William Frist, R-Tenn., for alleged insider trading on stock of a family-owned medical firm.