View Full Version : DeLay May Be Indicted

04-26-2004, 09:03 AM
Good news for Democrats
One of the most powerful Republicans on Capitol Hill could be the target of a politically motivated indictment over his tough tactics during the Texas redistricting fight last year.

Columnist Robert Novak reports that word is spreading "through Republican circles ... that a runaway Democratic prosecutor in Texas may indict House Majority Leader Tom DeLay."

DeLay's hardball tactics during the redistricting fight earned him the status of Republican hero, said Novak.

However, Austin District Attorney Ronnie Earle wants to prosecute DeLay for alleged illegal cash payments in connection with the episode, a move that would force DeLay to step aside till the case was resolved.

The top Republican sounded confident that Earle won't pull such an outrageous stunt.

Still, Texans well remember Earle's 1993 indictment of Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on trumped-up charges.

The renegade prosecutor dropped the case after a trial judge ruled that Earle had little evidence to back his allegation.

04-26-2004, 09:45 AM
The Grand Jury has yet to issue indictments so it's a good guess as to if Earle has the evidence to go forward.
This article has one of the best lines in it:
DeLay blasts DA in spending inquiry
Investigation focuses on whether GOP group illegally used funds
08:25 PM CST on Tuesday, February 24, 2004
By TODD J. GILLMAN / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON With Republican campaign-spending practices under investigation in Austin, U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay blasted Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle on Tuesday for using his power for "vindictive" ends.

"This is nothing more than a vindictive, typical Ronnie Earle process. The district attorney has a long history of being vindictive and partisan," Mr. DeLay said at a weekly session with reporters, responding to a question about a grand jury investigation being run by Mr. Earle.

"This is so typical. This is criminalizing, or an attempt to criminalize politics. We have a runaway district attorney in Texas," Mr. DeLay said.

Mr. Earle said of the leader's comments: "Being called partisan and vindictive by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog."

Republican groups targeted 22 House races for significant spending in 2002, which resulted in a GOP takeover of the House for the first time since the 1800s.

Mr. Earle and the grand jury appear to be investigating spending by a group founded by Mr. DeLay, Texans for a Republican Majority, and whether it illegally used $600,000 in corporate contributions for political consultants, fund raising and polling.

The inquiry is also looking at the Texas Association of Business' use of $1.9 million in corporate contributions to support GOP causes through advertising and mailers"
And a second one with the guts of what Earle is investigating:

PAC spending inquiry far from over
Prosecutors 'don't want to rush anything,' plan to call more witnesses
09:06 AM CST on Friday, February 27, 2004
By GEORGE KUEMPEL and CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN An investigation of possible money laundering and illegal use of corporate donations by a political action committee founded by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay is far from over, a prosecutor said Thursday.

"The investigation is continuing. There will be more witnesses before the grand jury," said Gregg Cox, head of the Travis County district attorney's Public Integrity Unit.

Mr. Cox also said his office is prepared to hand over the investigation to a new grand jury when the current one expires on March 30, if necessary.

"We don't want to rush anything," he said.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint in March by Texans for Public Justice, a not-for-profit policy and research organization.

Grand jurors questioned three witnesses Thursday about how Texans for a Republican Majority, the committee founded by Mr. DeLay, a Sugar Land Republican and the House majority leader, "raised and spent corporate funds," Mr. Cox said.

At issue is whether TRM illegally used corporate donations for the campaigns of a handful of Republican state House candidates two years ago and laundered corporate donations through the Republican National Committee.

It is illegal in Texas for corporations and labor unions to contribute to individual candidates. TRM officials say they have done nothing wrong and criticized the investigation as a political witch hunt.

Russell Anderson, TRM's accountant, was among the witnesses questioned Thursday. Chris Gunter of Austin, Mr. Anderson's attorney, said Mr. Anderson cooperated fully with the grand jury.

"He's answered all questions and produced all records sought," Mr. Gunter told reporters. "There is nothing to hide."

Demetrius McDaniel, an Austin lobbyist, and Jay Howard, an employee of Hillco Partners, an Austin lobbying and political consulting firm, also testified.

Mr. McDaniel, who hasn't returned telephone calls, was ordered to produce records of contributions that two of his 2002 lobbying clients, Lexmark International Inc. and Primedia Inc., made to TRM.

Mr. Howard's appearance was somewhat of a surprise because his subpoena was not included in the batch made public by the district attorney's office Wednesday. He is the son of Ed Howard, the late former state senator from Texarkana.

Bill Miller, a Hillco partner, said Mr. Howard was served a subpoena in the office Thursday morning and told that he was to be questioned about TRM.

Mr. Howard declined to talk to reporters after leaving the grand jury room.

Earlier Thursday, Roy Minton, Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick's lawyer, turned over to the grand jury several hundred pages of documents it requested last week relating to the 2002 speaker's race.

Mr. Cox said grand jurors also are looking at the $1.9 million in corporate contributions the Texas Association of Business spent on campaign "issue" ads two years ago and possible irregularities in the speaker's race.

Meanwhile, state Republican Chairwoman Tina Benkiser on Thursday filed an open-records request with Mr. Cox's boss, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, for information on the investigation's cost and "whether he is unfairly leaking information to the media."

Mr. Earle has said he has a responsibility to look into allegations of wrongdoing

04-26-2004, 10:50 AM
If Delay is jailed for illegal use of campaign funds, will it apply to every loser who deals with PAC money including some high profile ones like Sen. Clinton

04-26-2004, 11:19 AM
The Dems may not want to throw this stone.....it could hit them square between the eyes on the rebound.

04-26-2004, 11:37 AM
Originally posted by: FishForLunch
If Delay is jailed for illegal use of campaign funds, will it apply to every loser who deals with PAC money including some high profile ones like Sen. Clinton

This is purely a Texs case, it is not a federal law that apparently was violated.

It is a case about corporate funds being used in an election campaign, the Texas laws allow specific uses that are not for advertising, pamplets, etc. but (as I understand) only for admin/overhead expenses. ie the corporation $ can't be used for campaigning.