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Friday, September 30, 2005


Indictment of Tom DeLay

I suspect that there will be a lot of cheering from the democrats about the indictment of Tom DeLay, but I am not one of those cheering. This isn’t because I like or respect DeLay, I certainly don’t, but I don’t feel these charges are well warranted. DeLay was indicted for criminal conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme. The case alleges that DeLay and two other political associates laundered corporate contributions to a now defunct Texas political action committee they formed, Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC), to benefit Texas GOP candidates, in violation of state campaign finance laws. There are two troubling issues with this indictment that I find insupportable.

First, this is a political and frivolous indictment. The crime with which he is charged is "conspiracy" to violate the Texas law regarding corporate money and political contributions. The man behind the indictment is Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who is notorious for pursuing political indictments, and has once even brought charges against himself, plead not guilty under his own prosecution, then secured himself a two hundred dollar fine for filing campaign finance reports a day late. The "crime" of conspiracy is nothing more than a tool that prosecutors use to indict and convict someone when they cannot prove that a real crime has taken place.

Second, the real issue here is that a leading Democrat in Texas is angry because the Republicans beat the Democrats in elections in that state. I believe in being consistent when it comes to matter of law, and especially criminal law. When people seek to criminalize political differences, and make no mistake, that is what has happened here then rule of law no longer exists. Even though during Earle’s tenure he prosecuted twelve Democratic officials and only four Republicans, the Democrats he had gone after were conservatives, and at the time Republicans had no power in Texas. Terry Keel, Texas State Attorney and a former employee of Earle, said this on the recent DeLay indictments: "I disagree strongly with the way he's handled these cases. I can't see how any crime has been committed. Ronnie's stance in all this has not been constructive.” Furthermore the Wall Street Journal accuses Earle of having "a history of indicting political enemies, Democrat and Republican, on flimsy evidence that didn't hold up in court." I believe the charges brought by Ronnie Earle were political in nature and do not stand up to be accountable in the rule of law.

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