Texas Grand Jury Indicts Tom Delay & Two Associates

Congressman Tom Delay temporarily stepped aside today as U.S. House Majority Leader. That's after a Travis County Grand Jury in Austin indicted the Sugarland Republican and two political associates today. The three are charged with conspiracy in a campaign financing scheme.

Shortly after the indictment was returned, Delay said he had notified House Speaker Dennis Hastert that he was stepping aside temporarily as majority leader -- as required by House GOP rules.

Delay retains his seat representing the 22nd Congressional District of Texas in the southwestern Houston suburbs. He's denied committing any crime.

GOP congressional officials say Hastert will recommend that Congressman David Dreier of California to assume those duties. Some duties may go to the GOP whip Roy Blunt of Missouri.

The GOP rank and file may meet as early as tonight to act on Hastert's recommendation. Delay attorney, Steve Brittain says his client and associates John Colyandro and Jim Ellis are accused of a criminal conspiracy. Colyandro is former executive director of the Texans for a Republican majority political action committee Delay formed. Ellis heads the Americans for a Republican majority formed by the Sugarland republican.