Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Delay's indictment might only be the beginning...

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(UPDATE) 09/29/05: In all of the interviews that Tom Delay gave last night why did nobody ask him this question: Did you at any time, specifically discuss, plan, or co-ordinate in emails, phone conversations, or anything else... the process of the $190,000 contribution to TRMPAC being sent to the national party to be then turned around to Texas state campaigns? Isn't this obviously the basis for the conspiracy charge... and wouldn't finding out if he can publically deny any evidence that Ronnie Pearle might have to support this indictment... be the most important question to ask? But, instead Delay gets to claim the activity is not really a crime (which it is) and then ambiguously state that in these specific instances he wasn't even aware it was taking place until after the fact (which was subjected to absolutely no serious journalistic scrutiny).

09/28/05: You have to admire the Republican attack machine, even when it's on the defensive. Tom Delay was indicted twelve hours ago and already Texas Prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, has been publically reduced to a mean spirited, narcisistic political hack, puppeted by the DNC. To substantiate this smear Delay has cited a Democratic fundraiser Earle spoke at openly discussing the case with the crowd (which would indeed seem highly inappropriate)... plus Earle's conduct in a previous indictment against a Republican Senator, where, after a year of "mudslinging," he eventually refused to try the case in court, deciding instead to divulge all of the evidence to the local media in his hotel room.

And yet, I don't think that there is any question Delay was heavily involved with the "laundering" of corporate donations. Nor that he helped to send corporate money to the Republican Party in Washington, so it could then be returned to state legislative candidates. I don't think that anybody would dispute that this practise, while widely employed by both Democrats and Republicans, is an illegal practise in the state of Texas. Consequently, isn't the real pertinent issue not whether this charge is politcally motivated... as convenient as that might be for Delay and the FNC to focus on... but on exactly what grounds can it be proved that Delay conspired to facilitate this crime? I mean, from what I could discern from his interview on Brit Hume Delay's defense in court is going to be nothing more than "the Prosecutor's a Democrat", and "everybody else does it your honor."

From the Religious Freedom Coalition, Delay's opponents have an impressive list of alleged grievances:

Promised a role in drafting legislation to a corporate donor
Tried to coerce a Congressman for a vote on Medicare
Allegedly used corporate money given to his PAC to finance Texas campaigns in violation of state law
Used Homeland Security resources in a dispute with Democrats in Texas
Diverted funds from a children's charity for lavish celebrations at the Republican convention
Threatened retaliation against interest groups that don't support Republicans
Stacked the House Ethics committee with representatives who have contributed to his legal defense fund
Accepted trips from corporations and later helped kill legislation they opposed
Accepted trips from the lobbyist for a foreign government in violation of House rules
Crippled the effectiveness of the House Ethics Committee by purging members who had rebuked him
Pushed for a rules change for the House Ethics process that paralyzed the panel
Sought a rule change that would have no longer "required leaders to step aside temporarily if indicted"
Paid family members more than $500,000 out of campaign contributions

The truth is this indictment couldn't have come at a worse time for the President...

Seven days ago it emerged that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist sold all of his stock in his family's hospital corporation... two weeks before the price fell 15 percent after it had issued a disappointing earnings report. From the WP: On June 13, Frist instructed the trustee managing the assets to sell his HCA shares and those of his wife and children. Both the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are now looking into the sales, + the accusations of insider trading.

And next month Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's report on his investigation into how Valerie Plame's undercover CIA identity was exposed will be published. Karl Rove has been heavily implicated, alongside other White House political aides, and George Bush is on record as saying, "If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is...and if the person has violated the law, that person will be taken care of."

As implausible as it sounds, it's now entirely possible that the final months of 2005 will see indictments handed down against the House Majority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, and also members of the Executive branch. Although, I think that this is probably just wishful thinking on my part... hee hee :). Regardless of any eventuality, difficult times are most certainly ahead for the President and the Republican Party.

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