hopperbach


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Trouble for DeLay

If you cant beat 'em... prosecute 'em. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been indicted by a grand jury:

WASHINGTON Sep 28, 2005 — A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that likely will force him to step down as House majority leader.

DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.

GOP congressional officials said the plan was for DeLay to temporarily relinquish his leadership post and Speaker Dennis Hastert will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties.


Naaaaaah... put Curt Weldon in there.

Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Republican rank and file may meet as early as Wednesday night to act on Hastert's recommendation.

"The defendants enetered into an agreement with each other or with TRMPAC (Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee) to make a political contribution in violation of the Texas election code," says the four-page indictment. "The contribution was made directly to the Republican National Committee within 60 days of a general election."

The indictment against the second-ranking, and most assertive Republican leader came on the final day of the grand jury's term. It followed earlier indictments of a state political action committee founded by DeLay and three of his political associates.

The grand jury action is expected to have immediate consequences in the House, where DeLay is largely responsible for winning passage of the Republican legislative program. House Republican Party rules require leaders who are indicted to temporarily step aside from their leadership posts.

However, DeLay retains his seat representing Texas' 22nd congressional district, suburbs southwest of Houston.

DeLay has denied committing any crime and accused the Democratic district attorney leading the investigation, Ronnie Earle, of pursuing the case for political motives.


Here is the text of the statement released today by Delay's spokesman, Kevin Madden:

"These charges have no basis in the facts or the law. This is just another example of (Travis County District Attorney) Ronnie Earle misusing his office for partisan vendettas.

"Despite the clearly political agenda of this prosecutor, Congressman DeLay has cooperated with officials throughout the entire process. Even in the last two weeks, Ronnie Earle himself had acknowledged publicly that Mr. DeLay was not a target of his investigation. However, as with many of Ronnie Earle's previous partisan investigations, Ronnie Earle refused to let the facts or the law get in the way of his partisan desire to indict a political foe.

"This purely political investigation has been marked by illegal grand jury leaks, a fundraising speech by Ronnie Earle for Texas Democrats that inappropriately focused on the investigation, misuse of his office for partisan purposes, and extortion of money for Earle's pet projects from corporations in exchange for dismissing indictments he brought against them.

"Ronnie Earle's previous misuse of his office has resulted in failed prosecutions and we trust his partisan grandstanding will strike out again, as it should.

"Ronnie Earle's 1994 indictment against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was quickly dismissed and his charges in the 1980s against former Attorney General Jim Mattox-another political foe of Earle-fell apart at trial.

"We regret the people of Texas will once again have their taxpayer dollars wasted on Ronnie Earle's pursuit of headlines and political paybacks. Ronnie Earle began this investigation in 2002, after the Democrat Party lost the Texas state legislature to Republicans.

"For three years and through numerous grand juries, Ronnie Earle has tried to manufacture charges against Republicans involved in winning those elections using arcane statutes never before utilized in a case in the state.

"This indictment is nothing more than prosecutorial retribution by a partisan Democrat."



It does look that way and with Bill Frist also under investigation it is easy to believe that some political strings are being pulled behind the scenes. Washington can be a nasty place to do business.

On the other hand... there must have been something that was pretty compelling to the grand jury. We'll find out more later.

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