Something’s up when a Republican Speaker of the House says he may remove a fellow Republican as Chair of the House Ethics Committee. If there’s any doubt, add to the equation that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is criticizing the move.

The Chair at issue is Colorado Congressman Joel Hefley. His sin? Backing an ethics inquiry of powerful Texan Congressman Tom Delay. Here is Nancy Pelosi’s statement:

Washington, D.C. — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on news reports that Speaker Dennis Hastert may remove Congressman Joel Hefley as chairman of the House Ethics Committee:

“The Speaker of the House has great power over to uphold a high ethical standard for the House of the Representative by his appointment of the Ethics Committee chairman.

“As chairman, Mr. Hefley presided over the Ethics Committee’s three bipartisan and unanimous rebukes of Majority Leader Tom DeLay. It is our responsibility to uphold a high ethical standard — removing a chair of the Ethics Committee for upholding that standard would be a stain on the House of Representatives.”