Text of remarks by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, on Wednesday, as transcribed by DeLay's office:
DELAY: Good morning. Thank you for attending.
This morning, in an act of blatant political partisanship, a rogue district attorney in Travis County, Texas named Ronnie Earle charged me with one count of criminal conspiracy, a reckless charge wholly unsupported by the facts.
This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history.
It is a sham, and Mr. Earle knows it.
It is a charge that can not hold up even under the most glancing scrutiny.
This act is the product of a coordinated, premeditated campaign of political retribution, the all-too-predictable result of a vengeful investigation led by a partisan fanatic.
Mr. Earle is abusing the power of his office to exact personal revenge for the role I played in the Texas Republican legislative campaign in 2002 and my advocacy for a new, fair and constitutional congressional map for our state in 2003.
As it turned out, those efforts were successful.
Texas Republicans did indeed win a legislative majority.
A fair and representative congressional map was drawn and approved by the legislature.
And the Texas congressional delegation now, after the 2004 elections, fairly represents the values and attitudes of the state.
Over the course of this long and bitter political battle, it became clear that the retribution for our success would be ferocious.
Today, that retribution is being exacted.
Mr. Earle, an unabashed partisan zealot with a well-documented history of launching baseless investigations and indictments against his political enemies, has been targeting a political action committee on whose advisory board I once served.
During his investigation, he has gone out of his way to give several media interviews in his office - the only days he actually comes to the office, I'm told - in which he has singled me out for personal attacks, in direct violation of his public responsibility to conduct an impartial inquiry.
Despite his long-standing animosity toward me - and the abusive investigation that animosity has unfortunately rendered - as recently as two weeks ago, Mr. Earle himself publicly admitted I had never been a focus or target of his inquiry.
Soon thereafter, Mr. Earle's hometown newspaper ran a biting editorial about his investigation, rhetorically asking what the point had been, after all, if I wasn't to be indicted.
It was this renewed political pressure in the waning days of his hollow investigation that led this morning's action.
In accordance with the rules of the House Republican Conference, I will temporarily step aside as floor leader in order to win exoneration from these baseless charges.
Let me be very, very clear. I have done nothing wrong.
I have violated no law, no regulation, no rule of the House.
I have done nothing unlawful, unethical, or, I might add, unprecedented even in the political campaigns of Mr. Earle himself.
My defense in this case will not be technical or legalistic: it will be categorical and absolute.
I am innocent. Mr. Earle and his staff know it. And I will prove it.
Here in Washington, there is work - hard, hard work - ahead of our conference.
We have a war to win, a region to rebuild, a budget to balance, taxes to cut, a government to reform, and a nation to lead.
In coming weeks, the House is committed to major legislation reforming our border security and immigration laws, alleviating the rising costs of gasoline and heating fuel before the winter, and saving tens of billions of dollars through reforming federal entitlement programs.
My job right now is to serve my constituents and our nation in support of this ambitious and needed agenda.
As for the charges, I have the facts, the law, and the truth on my side - just as I have against every false allegation my opponents have flung at me over the years.
Once exposed to the light of objective scrutiny, every one of their frivolous accusations against me has been dismissed, and so will Mr. Earle's.