Sunday, October 02, 2005

Delay's indictment

This morning I heard on NPR an interview of the foreman of the grand jury that indicted Tom Delay. I was struck by how articulate he was and how clear that it was, indeed, the grand jury that brought the indictment - not Ronnie Earle. As you know, the Republicans are spinning it that Earle has partisan reasons for seeking the indictment. Needless to say, they neglect to inform us that Mr. Earle has prosecuted far more Democrats than he has Republicans.

Here's an article that explores this indictment. It's from the Dallas Morning News and is entitled, "Nailed: Grand jury foreman cites 'stacks' of evidence against DeLay". Here's part of what it says:

AUSTIN - Grand jurors were presented a load of evidence, including testimony and phone records, that led them to believe Rep. Tom DeLay should be tried on a conspiracy charge, the leader of the Travis County grand jury that indicted the congressman said Friday. "

It was not one of those sugarcoated deals that we handed to [District Attorney] Ronnie Earle," William M. Gibson said.

He added: "Mr. Earle has stacks and stacks of papers - evidence of telephone calls from Mr. DeLay and everybody."

Mr. DeLay has said that Mr. Earle has no evidence to prove that he tried to subvert Texas election laws. The Sugar Land Republican's lawyers did not return calls seeking comments on Mr. Gibson's description of the grand jury proceedings.

The indictment stems from the activities of Texans for a Republican Majority, a political action committee created by Mr. DeLay. The group, known as TRMPAC, is accused of trying to circumvent Texas laws that make it illegal to use corporate or union money in political campaigns.

Labeling it a money-laundering scheme, Mr. Earle says that TRMPAC took $190,000 in corporate donations and routed it - along with the names of seven Statehouse candidates - to the Republican National Committee in September 2002.

The RNC then sent out $190,000 in contributions to those same seven candidates, who couldn't legally have accepted corporate money.

At the heart of the conspiracy charge against Mr. DeLay is whether he knew about the transaction. Experts on Texas law say that knowledge alone might be all that is needed for a conviction under state law.
TRMPAC already has lost a lawsuit brought by losing Democratic candidates over how $600,000 raised from corporations was used against them.

In May, state District Judge Joe Hart ruled that the Democrats were damaged by TRMPAC's improper use of corporate money."

TRMPAC as a whole was an illegal entity," said Cris Feldman, a lawyer representing the Democrats.

He also pointed out that in the ruling, Judge Hart weighed the $190,000 transaction and included it as part of the improper donations, which was used to determine the damage award."

It's implicit recognition that it was money laundering," Mr. Feldman said.

This is sheer corruption. Let's hope Texas sends a message to the administration that it is not above the law. What a surprise that will be!

P.S. I'm sorry I'm not able to give you a link. For some reason, the Blogger program is not accepting links today. I hope that gets fixed soon. If you want to read the article in its entirety, it's reprinted on the Smirking Chimp website for yesterday.

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