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How many swings does he get?

I've never been a fan of Tom Delay, and I've not paid much attention to his current travails, but the bits and pieces that have caught my attention have done the unthinkable: they've caused me to feel a twinge of sympathy for him. It's an unpleasant feeling; I recently had it for Geraldo Rivera, when the New York Times smeared him.

Let's see: Ronnie Earle doesn't even represent DeLay's district, but under Texas law that doesn't matter. He's brought this matter before three grand juries so far, and with less than stellar results:

The first grand jury refused to indict.

The second one indicted DeLay for breaking a 2003 law in 2002 -- dang that Constitution and its "no ex post facto" laws.

Now, the third one indicted DeLay without seeing a key piece of evidence. Apparently, they took Earle at his word that his dog ate it or it was in his other pants or something. Now Earle's office is saying they can't find that, but in the time-honored tradition of Mary Mapes and Dan Rather, they're offering a "similar" document, using the "fake but accurate" argument.

Like I said, I've never liked DeLay. Actually, I never had much of an opinion of him, but what little I knew was unfavorable. But I dunno if I'd want to see ANYONE treated like this. Because if one whackjob prosecutor in Texas can do this to one of the most powerful men in the country, what chances do the rest of the people in his jurisdiction have?


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Comments (53)

Ronnie Earle is just a libe... (Below threshold)
bob jones:

Ronnie Earle is just a liberal activist DA abusing his power in the liberal bastion of Texas (Travis County). He would have never gotten an indictment in any other Texas county, but in Austin there are loads of "Weird" people.

This whole process is a sham and Ronnie Earle needs to be run out on a pole in the next election, but in Travis County he's like Michael Jackson hosting a boys club.

What goes around comes around though and I hope Ronnie faces the music when he is done and DeLay sues his ass off so he has to move in with Sheila Jackson Lee.

Hmmm.Actually I th... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Actually I think Earle has tried to indict with around 6 Grand Juries, but for different offenses. I don't say "crimes" because they might be crimes at all. Wierd situation.

What I think might be amusing in all this is that DeLay might be able to parlay this whole thing into even more political authority. While the rest of the GOP shows it has the spine of a flatworm, DeLay is out there. He might not be kicking ass, but he is really aggravating the right people. If this indictment by Earle implodes, as it really looks like it's going to, then DeLay is looking even better.

Hehe. DeLay might even consider a White House run or a Govenorship. No idea how many people would support it. But as the current potential slate of candidates is incredibly light on conservatives, DeLay might get on as either the President or VP.

I think it'll depend on how pissed off conservatives are with the GOP. The angrier they are, the more likely a DeLay Presidency run is.

I've got the doc. over here... (Below threshold)
DanRather:

I've got the doc. over here. Well maybe not here here, but I can get them. Ronnie get back with me.

DeLay's a freaking scumbag ... (Below threshold)
Michael:

DeLay's a freaking scumbag of the highest order. The man has been warned by the Ethics Committee on at least three ocassions but he thinks he's bulletproof. He may well be, due to his enormous war-chest of legal defense funds. Earle's a scumbag too, but smearing Earle does nothing to shed any light of innnocence on DeLay. I hope they both catch on fire.

Hmmmm."DeLay's a f... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"DeLay's a freaking scumbag of the highest order."

Who hasn't yet broken the law and hasn't ever done anything that other Republicans *and* Democrats haven't also done.

"The man has been warned by the Ethics Committee on at least three ocassions but he thinks he's bulletproof."

Frankly those "warnings" have very little value. But hey, you believe what you like.

MIKEY MIKEY MIKEYI... (Below threshold)
MACOFROMOC:

MIKEY MIKEY MIKEY

If Delay has broken laws bring the evidence. You can't be suggesting that we indict people on rumor are you? And how shi%$#@ can Earle be if he can't find any evidence? I ain't so sure how Delay is bulletproof just because Earle has no evidence.

I agree that both Repubs AN... (Below threshold)
Michael:

I agree that both Repubs AND Dems do what he's done ( which IS launder money-when you get money, funnel it through another entity and write a check out the other side, that's laundering--and yes, I realize both sides do it ). I'm not landing on the Dems side here, I think both sides are dirty. But, hey, if you've got the cash and can hire Deguerin, then you can get off. Guilty? Innocent? It doesn't really matter.
Are we to HONESTLY believe that the sort of cronyism that goes on is o.k. ( even if it's "legal" by the letter of the law? ) Why the hell do you think these corporations write checks to PACs? For fun? They expect favors in return in the way of legislation, and they get them. It's a freaking racket and someone should pay. I don't give a crap if it's DeLay or some left-wing Dem or whoever. The people who are supposed to be represented ( the voters ) get NO voice and the corporations get what they want because they hand over cash ( or, say, golfing trips to Scotland...)
Earle and DeLay are BOTH trash, but we've gotta
start cleaning up somewhere and frankly, I don't care who gets the axe because they're ALL guilty. Good men and women don't run for public office because the things it takes to reach the positions of power are not acceptable actions for good people.

Rule of Law!! Rule of Law!!... (Below threshold)
DUDACKATTACK!!!:

Rule of Law!! Rule of Law!!

People that attempt to act ... (Below threshold)
Sue:

People that attempt to act like they know the facts and therefore can base their opinions on facts when they do NOT know the facts really irritate me.

JayTea said "Let's see: Ronnie Earle doesn't even represent DeLay's district, but under Texas law that doesn't matter."

Ronnie Earle is the District Attorney in Travis County. That county is about a 3 hour drive from Tom DeLay's home district.

Ronnie Earle ALSO is the Public Integrity Officer for the state of Texas.

Tom DeLay was involved in the money laundering that affected the election of additional Republicans to the Texas House of Representatives. Those additional republicans then agreed to re-open the redistricting of the state of Texas - a job that had already been done. That second redistricting carved up the state to create more Republican districts (including carving up the 4th largest city in Texas into 3 separate districts to dilute the voting power of the Democrats in that city, and denying that city a representative that has this city as his or her focus).

This was an alleged crime in Texas. People that were involved in that crime have been charged. The fact that Tom DeLay represents a district that is a 3 hour drive from Austin has NOTHING to do with this. He could live out of state and still be charged. His residence has NOTHING TO DO with the charge.

Ronnie Earle is tasked with keeping Texas state politics clean from misuse and abuse. He presented evidence to a grand jury, and they first indicted two of DeLay's best friends and longtime colleagues, and then voted to indict DeLay himself.

So, JayTea says "Let's see: Ronnie Earle doesn't even represent DeLay's district, but under Texas law that doesn't matter."

That's right. Under Texas law, it does NOT matter where you live or what House district YOU represent. If YOU are a political person who abuses the campaign finance laws of the state of Texas, then you SHOULD BE indicted, regardless of the district you represent.

Ronnie Earle is doing what he was supposed to do. His office is incredibly highly regarded.

How can anyone support the money laundering of $190,000 to influence an election? Regardless of WHAT political party did it - it's wrong.

oy!All I akss for ... (Below threshold)
macofromoc:

oy!

All I akss for is evidence and I get inuendo. So far I'm hearing is he probably is guilty of money laundering, and this and that. Seems to me that all Earle is doin' is fishing. I don't think he gets paid to fish.

Just because some of the pe... (Below threshold)
minnie:

Just because some of the people who Tom Delay happened to do political favors for happened to be friends of his who also happened to give him lots of donations, doesn't mean he was selling off our government for personal gain.

Besides, everyone does it, no one has proven anything yet, he just misspoke when he said he did it, it was for a good cause, some of the people who got some of the money gave it back, and it may not have been technically illegal at the time.

You can't go calling something a crime just because some liberal prosecutor on a jihad gets some liberal Grand Jury in Texas to indict him and a liberal Texas judge to convict him. That's stretching that Rule of Law thing way too far.

If the most powerful man in Texas can be brought down by laws, what the hell are they good for?
With any luck, we can stretch this whole thing out til Miers gets confirmed, so it can get thrown out on a technicality 5-4 by the Supreme Court like the Florida thing. That would be real justice.

'That's right. Under Texas ... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

'That's right. Under Texas law, it does NOT matter where you live or what House district YOU represent. If YOU are a political person who abuses the campaign finance laws of the state of Texas, then you SHOULD BE indicted, regardless of the district you represent. '

That's what he said.

Do we all have to pretend w... (Below threshold)
MIchael:

Do we all have to pretend we're completely fucking retarded so that it's "fair"?

Jesus Christ, you people sound like the personal injury lawyers you despise so much.

Colyandro and Ellis are knee-deep in the civil trial because these guys got CAUGHT. As in, CAUGHT. In the, oh crap I've really violated campaign finance law, way. Now their lawyers are back-pedaling like crazy and DeLay's treating them like screaming lepers in the street. That's the most hilarious part of all this cronyism is that once the money runs out or someone gets caught, their loyalty just dissolves.

DeLay will probably walk. He's got Deguerin. Deguerin got a guy off who cut off someone's head and called it self defense. Now, THAT'S a lawyer.

Once this ridiculous partisanship ceases ( not in our lifetimes ), maybe we can float this ship back to the land of REAL democracy. Wouldn't that be a treat? Where all of us who are so pissed off actually have a voice that matters. Where justice doesn't get bought and sold and people are actually held accountable for their actions. (someone insert the string section, here, I'm getting all weepy)

Regardless of how you feel ... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Regardless of how you feel about the propriety of the financial maneuverings engaged in by the two major parties, at least in the state of Texas, it does not appear to have been illegal. From what I have read, the activities alleged were done in 2002, while the law that supposedly makes them illegal was passed in 2003. Sorry guys, that doesn't make a crime. If Earle has something more, great. If not, then he looks like a horse's ass. But you can't penalize someone for engaging in legal activities, not in our legal system, anyway.

And for those who don't like gerrymandering, allow me to show you the other side of this coin. Follow this link to a map of North Carolina's 12th Congressional District: http://ftp2.census.gov/geo/maps/cong_dist/cd108_gen/ind_pdf/North_Carolina/NC_CD12.gif
This district was drawn by the majoroty Democrats to guarantee a black Congressman (Mel Watts) would be elected. Note that the 12th District encompasses a sizeable part of the Cities of Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point, along with any other sizeable population centers as it snakes through NC along a corridor 3-4 miles wide and about 100 miles long. The urban areas it swallows are (surprise, surprise) largely minority. So let's not get too uppity about the dastardly things the Republicans did with redistricting in Texas. It's, unfortunately, all too common. And I would venture a guess that, nationwide, the past masters of gerrymandering and redistricting are the Democratic Party. You may not like it - I am not very happy with it, but it has been a part of our political process for a very long time.

You are wrong about Ronnie ... (Below threshold)
markie:

You are wrong about Ronnie Earle-he is not partisian-he prosecuted 12 dems and 3 repubs! Check the facts yourself by googling

Well, of course they're all... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Well, of course they're all gerrymandering. I never said they weren't. But shouldn't this be where the outrage is? Not that they "technically" get away with it, but that the system in place allows them to? By "them" I mean ALL of them.

May I suggest a hearty round of throat-punching?

The only reason all of this... (Below threshold)

The only reason all of this "money laundering" shit is relevant is because good gov types years ago decided it was inappropriate for individuals to give as much money as they wished to whatever politican they wanted. So then PACS and corporate fundraising, etc came into being. Wanna get rid of all this bullshit? Eliminate all campaign fundraising laws except this one: a candidate can take as much money as he wants from whomever he wants, as long as he reports it publicly and frequently.

Maybe the voters'll actually pay attention. Oh, that's the problem then, isn't it?

"But shouldn't this be w... (Below threshold)
Dave:

"But shouldn't this be where the outrage is?"

Okay, now we're talking something different here. I have no argument with your outrage against political machinations as practiced in American politics. However, condoning possible abuses of the legal system as a means of "getting" politicians who engage in (legal) practices that you don't like is not a good way to fix the system. What you wind up with is much, much worse, because then the rule of law is gone and everything becomes power politics. It's bad enough now, I don't want to think about surviving under that kind of system.

sue! get a clue. ronnie ear... (Below threshold)
jab:

sue! get a clue. ronnie earl is a ignorant prick, elected by wack jobs populating travis county. i am here to tell you the capitol of texas does NOT portray which way the political winds blow here in texas, it is a liberal haven, and further more his job is NOT TO ABUSE HIS POWER AS THE TRAVIS COUNTY D.A, which is what will probably be shown to have happened in the end. earle is a mega-loser and his track record of prosecuting politicians is plenty evidence of that. he will indict, just because he thinks in his head, it's just wrong, not by what the law says, and that's a fact. he's just plain trash, period.

Hmmm.1. "You are w... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

1. "You are wrong about Ronnie Earle-he is not partisian-he prosecuted 12 dems and 3 repubs! Check the facts yourself by googling"

Ronnie Earle prosecutes political opponents, not necessarily Republicans. That doesn't make him a saint.

2. "Colyandro and Ellis are knee-deep in the civil trial because these guys got CAUGHT."

Actually it's a criminal trial, and there's no evidence that anything illegal was actually done.

3. "With any luck, we can stretch this whole thing out til Miers gets confirmed, so it can get thrown out on a technicality 5-4 by the Supreme Court like the Florida thing. That would be real justice."

The level of irony implicit exceeds federally mandated safety standards.

4. "How can anyone support the money laundering of $190,000 to influence an election? Regardless of WHAT political party did it - it's wrong."

The problem of course is that it's not "money laundering". Money laundering by definition requires the money to come from an illegal act. If the money doesn't come from an illegal act, then it cannot be money laundering. This is the most essential problem with Earle's charges, and one that will eventually cause his case to be thrown out of court.

And yes, this is Texas law we're talking about here.

As an example. If you gave me $5, and then I turn around and gave that $5 to someone else at your direction, then that could be money laundering. But only if the $5 you gave me was tainted because it came from an illegal act. If you legitimately and legally earned that $5, then no single transfer or series of transfers could make that illegal as long as it doesn't violate any US Customs or banking laws.

*shrug* if you want to believe Earle is as pure as the driven snow, then go right on ahead. But if you're a resident of Travis County, then you might want to be a little careful. One possible reason for filing the counter-charges that DeLay has filed against Earle and his office, is for a serious civil lawsuit that'll involve tens of millions of dollars in damages. And those will have to be paid out of the County's funds, and thus from taxes paid by the County's residents.

5. "I agree that both Repubs AND Dems do what he's done ( which IS launder money-when you get money, funnel it through another entity and write a check out the other side, that's laundering--and yes, I realize both sides do it )."

No it isn't, as I explained in item #4.

The money has to be the proceeds of an illegal act. If the money is legitimate, then it cannot be money laundering. What Earle is alleging is a rather bizzare viewpoint. He might succeed, he might not. Frankly I seriously doubt he'll succeed and if he did, the Democrats would hate his guts even more than Republicans because they rely on corporate donations more than Republicans do in Texas.

Here's another example. Say you need me to file some papers with a local office that will only take a check drawn from a local bank. You live in another state and don't have a local bank account and you are far enough away that you need me to file the papers for you. You send me $50 to cover the cost of the filing charge, which I deposit in my local bank account. I then go to the local office, attach my check from a local bank and file the papers for you.

Is that money laundering?

Only if the original $50 you sent to me was earned from an illegal act. Otherwise it's a perfactly legal transaction that happens all the time, all over America. If DeLay is guilty of money laundering, then a *lot* of other people are too.

Which is a little ridiculous.

Hmmm."Eliminate al... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"Eliminate all campaign fundraising laws except this one: a candidate can take as much money as he wants from whomever he wants, as long as he reports it publicly and frequently."

*Exactly*!

Force the FEC to maintain a website that details all of the donations and money transactions in a simple and easily understood format, with an available download in various formats such as XLS, XML, CSV, etc etc etc.

Frankly I think most, if not all, campaign finance laws are really very undemocratic.

markie, you said “You are w... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

markie, you said “You are wrong about Ronnie Earle-he is not partisian-he prosecuted 12 dems and 3 repubs! Check the facts yourself by googling”.

Dems that were his enemies. Except for his little misdemeanor indictment stunt in which he indicted himself so he can say he is completely honest. Give me a break. Also the Dems don’t have a rule where they have to step down from leadership position if indicted.

wavemaker,I'm with... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

wavemaker,

I'm with you! The only thing I would change in your suggestion is that only people (i.e. real, live human beings) can give money to political campaigns. No corporate money. No PAC money. No 529 money.

Other than that, no limits and full, immediate disclosure.

Michael,

Put down the keyboard and step away from the computer! Dude, you need to take a break from politics or something...before you have an aneurysm. It's been my experience that people who say "yeah, well they're all guilty" as an arguement fall into one of two camps. Either they are so over the top emotional about an issue that they can no longer think straight, or they have an agenda that they are trying desperately to conceal.

Here are a few actual facts... (Below threshold)
Aubrey:

Here are a few actual facts and a couple of conclusions.

Sue is correct, Texas law empowers the District Attorney in Travis County, the state capital, to investigate possible violations of Texas laws related to the operation of Texas government, elections and similar areas. The state of Texas funds the Public Integrity Unit, which is part of the Travis County District Attorney’s office.

Ronnie Earle is a Texas politician who has been DA of Travis County for 27 years. He has to get himself re-elected periodically.

After more than 100 years of Democrat rule in state government, about 20 years ago the citizens of Texas and their moderate and conservative representatives began converting to the Republican party. At this point there are no Democrat constitutional government officers in Texas, nor are there likely to be any time soon. Both houses of the Legislature have Republican majorities. Mostly the same for the judiciary, which is elected in Texas.

The final nail in Texas Democrat’s coffin was electing a Republican majority to the Texas House of Representatives and the subsequent redrawing of Texas Congressional districts. Tom Delay was the political will behind those events. He is not popular with Texas Democrats.

Travis County, home of the state government the University of Texas, and the focus of Texas art and music, is one of the remaining Texas bastions of liberalism and the Democratic party. It’s more blue than the Hope Diamond. The only time there are Republicans in Austin is when the Legislature is in session.

At election time, Ronnie points with pride to his record of prosecuting official evil doers. Early on, it was conservative and moderate Democrats, but of course since there aren’t any left now it’s Republicans. Best of all, the state pays for it, and people of Travis County love it. Ronnie has found a sure-fire formula for staying in office forever.

Fortunately for Texas politicians, Ronnie tends to over-reach (link below). It’s beginning to look like he may have done so again. If he has, Tom DeLay can have pretty much any Texas office he wants. And the Texas Legislature may find that the Public Integrity law needs improvement.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/metropolitan/3382733

"I'm with you! The only thi... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

"I'm with you! The only thing I would change in your suggestion is that only people (i.e. real, live human beings) can give money to political campaigns. No corporate money. No PAC money. No 529 money."

All of those things you mentioned are just groups of real people. A corporation is just a group of people. If we are not going to allow groups of people to be politically active, are we going to ban political parties? Not that it would be a bad idea.....

<a href="http://www.cnsnews... (Below threshold)

George Soros was convicted of insider trading and he bankrolled the campaigns of several prominent democrats during the last elections, most indirectly through 527's but some directly. At least a percent of his money was gotten illegally. I sure don't see the people demanding DeLay's arrest applying the same standards when there actually was provable money laundering involved. They might just lean a little to the hypocrital side. Then again they could could be dishonest liberals supporting a dishonest ideology by dishonest means. That would be my guess. The truth hurts, doesn't it?

Ronnie Earle is also neck d... (Below threshold)

Ronnie Earle is also neck deep in a "documentary" about all of this. A lot of money is invested in the production and I'm sure the producers want to make sure they can recoup their investment. After all, if Earle comes up empty handed, the movie is worthless.

If you don't think that smells like last weeks fish, the you ain't payin attention.

VW

Hmmm.I don't think... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

I don't think you can legally prevent corporations from donating money. Corporations do have certain rights including free speech. I think, IANAL, that corporate rights are at a lower bar than individual rights, but they do exist.

But I think the real key is open and timely disclosure. How that would be significantly different from what we have now, I don't have much of an idea really.

The only thing I can think of is that the byzantine rules structure we have now only helps the professionals. Average people who'd like to run for office are prevented from doing so because of the ridiculous complexity of the laws. Consider the difficulty of creating a new national political party.

I can incorporate a brand new corporation and then do business anywhere. But you can't create a national party that easily. Instead you've got to work within the various bizzare rules of each state, which are oriented towards preventing such parties from forming.

*shrug* I suppose ultimately what I'm discussing is a complete overhaul of the entire registration and voting system. Yeah. That'll never happen.

Ronnie Earle is a jack....w... (Below threshold)
ron:

Ronnie Earle is a jack....wait my name is Ron. The guys a clown practicing the art of marketing his position as DA. Problem is Delay's name just keeps popping up in the mud pits. Disturbing.

This is a Karl Rovian plot ... (Below threshold)

This is a Karl Rovian plot to discredit Texas Democrats and position DeLay for a presidental bid.

(Remember, Rove is behind everything!)

Gee, you prove that most of... (Below threshold)

Gee, you prove that most of the high profile democrat candidates in the last election accepted laundered money from a convict and the lynch mob drops their pitchforks and goes home. I must have been right about the dishonesty thing.

ed and Sheik -- I agree wit... (Below threshold)

ed and Sheik -- I agree with Sheik -- individuals only. And surely you can legally prohibit corporations from giving political contributions -- it's the law now in most (if not every) states and federally. The problem is that PACS and corporations HIDE the true origin of donable money by "washing" it through their organizations (not "laundering" in the legal sense -- as has been pointed out) -- look what labor unions do to their members -- forcing them (illegally) to contribute money to their PAC fund and giving the money to "friendly" candidates regardless of the individual's wishes.

ed, while you're correct about the whole "laundering" word and its legal meaning, I think the use of the word is more the MSM attempt to paint the scheme is the most tawdry terms possible. In fact, most campaign finance laws do prohibit the act of hiding or misrepresenting the true identity of the donor, or using a series of connecting deposits and contributions through various organizations to get around, say, contribution limits or bundling. It is a common practice made necessary by the needlessly (and increasingly) arcane system of restrictions on political giving.

Sue and the rest, Texas law... (Below threshold)
ts:

Sue and the rest, Texas law is very explicit with respect to venue. Violations of campaign law are to be charged in the county of residence of the accused - see Title 15 Sec 251.004. So like his other sleazy moves, Earle did not charge DeLay with a violation of campaign finance laws, because that would been tossed as the wrong venue. Instead he charges him with conspiracy, a separate charge that is not part of election law.

By the time this is over, Earle will be lucky to escape this without sanctions against him these charges will never make it to a trial.

Earle's complicity i... (Below threshold)
jack rudd:


Earle's complicity in creating a documentary about allegedly criminal matters which must remain secret shows that he has become unhinged. Assuming that he was ever hinged in the first instance.

Corporations are legal enti... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Corporations are legal entities and have interests. If you ban them from the political process, their influence will be lower, and thus corporate taxes (and regulation) higher, over time.

Those who defend Ronnie as a straightforward public interest prosecutor do not seem to be taking into account some very unsound practices:

1) He indicted DeLay on 2002 events, he claims violated a 2003 law.
2) As he became aware of #1, he went jury shopping - against ethical standards - and used what was described as "intimidation tactics" by several jury members.
3) In the course of #2, Ronnie alluded to a document it turns out was not in existence. Later, a document was referrenced that was "like" or "similar" to the fictional document. Many problems with this document exist, including its source, authenticity, and that half the names on it did not receive any part of the $ 190,000.

It is hard to underestimate the heated passion Texas Democrats have toward Delay as a result of the redistricting.

All of us, Democrats and Republicans alike should give pause and consider the possibility, just the possibility, that something is far wrong here.

I don't know if DeLay is gu... (Below threshold)
Chris:

I don't know if DeLay is guilty or not, because unlike the geniuses on this board I'm not capable of determining guilt or innocence based on reading about an indictment.

As for gerrymandering, yes it's been done by both parties (although I'd like to see evidence that "the past masters of gerrymandering and redistricting are the Democratic Party.") In Texas, Congressional districts are redrawn ewvey 10 years, in conjunction with the census. The districts were redrawn in 2000. Two years later, the Republicans came to power and immediately redrew the districts to give themselves six more Congressmen. While it was found to be technically legal (by a three judge panel with two Republicans on it; if Earle's party affiliation is relevant, so are the judges') it was certainly unethical. The case is scheduled to come before the Supreme Court this fall. If it wasn't for the redistricting, the Republicans would have lost seats nationally in the last election. While I'm sure many of you support pretty much whatever the Republicans can do to maintain power, I'd be interested to hear how you think it serves the voters to find themselves in different Congressional districts every two years.

As for money laundering, I'm not sure how ed can dismiss it so quickly. It seems at least possible that donating money to the National Republican party for the express purpose of funneling the money to Texas in circumvention of campaign finance laws is an illegal act. Thus, the funds are illegal gains and money laundering may well apply.

And Bullwinkle, don't hurt your arm patting yourself on the back. Your assertions about Soros are so patently ridiculous that I'm sure no one felt it necessary to reply. I wouldn't be mentioning them if I wasn't already posting something and if you didn't insist on declaring some sort of victory. The fact that Soros was convicted of insider trading (not even in this country, mind you) does not technically or even logically make all of his money an ill-gotten gain. And I haven't heard any allegations that he funneled his money to politicians in violation of campaign finance laws. So I guess my question would be, what the hell are you raving about now?

It never ceases to amaze me how people on this board start with the conclusion they would like, then work their way back through the evidence to make it fit. Statements like "from what I read, no crime was committed" are just laughable. Maybe DeLay won't be convicted, but how the hell do any of you know one way or the other? Wishing doesn't make it so. Remember how certain everyone was that Wilson and Plame were the ones who were going to be indicted by Fitzgerald? All of you legal experts had it all figured out. I guess that's why egveryone in the White House has a personal attorney, John Hannah has flipped, and even Steven Hadley is telling friends he expects to be indicted.

Finally, there's this gem from ed, who says Tom DeLay "hasn't yet broken the law and hasn't ever done anything that other Republicans *and* Democrats haven't also done."

ed ed ed. Please share with us the exhaustive investigation that allows you to make such a declarative statement (hasn't ever done anything?). I'm sure DeLay would appreciate whatever definitive evidence you have, as well.

Awwww, the poor widdle Texa... (Below threshold)

Awwww, the poor widdle Texas Democrats didn't like it when the wedistwicing shoe was on the other foot? **** 'em. They benefited from the practice for the better part of a century, they don't get to kvetch when they're on the pointy end of it now.

Did I say ALL of Soros' mon... (Below threshold)

Did I say ALL of Soros' money was gotten illegally? Nope. Does the law specify that laundered money has to be from crimes committed on US soil? No.
I gotta know, when you decide to rave why can't you at least read what you are raving about?

Travis County, home of t... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Travis County, home of the state government the University of Texas, and the focus of Texas art and music, is one of the remaining Texas bastions of liberalism and the Democratic party.

Having grown up in Austin and lived there for a stint as an adult (I have since escaped,) I can say without question that many of the "liberals" in Austin are amongst the most bigoted people I have ever known. For example, I knew one guy that lived in a minority neighborhood who always referred to it as "the neigh-bro-hood."

Ronnie Earle is a political hack that is constantly trying to make his bones so that he can be re-elected. He scored big points with his cronies with the indictment of DeLay. While he would like to put DeLay in jail I am sure, he mostly wanted to see his name in the paper.

I did read what you wrote. ... (Below threshold)
Chris:

I did read what you wrote. You said Soros was convicted of insider trading, then said he bankrolled campaigns. You later said you had "proved" that he was guilty of money laundering. (Will you accept that kind of proof from Ronnie Earle?) And then on top of everything else you gave yourself credit for silencing the opposition with your unassailable logic.

Whether you said some or all of his money was obtained illegally is irrelevant. My point still stands. The only way you could make the blanket statement you did would be if all of his money was ill-gotten gains (not to mention that he still would have had to try and conceal their source when he made his donations.) You insisting that you only said "part" of his money just weakens your case further. Unless, of course, you've managed to trace all of the funds, but I'm guessing you don't have subpeona powers. And since he was fined the amount he made on the transaction, his ill-gotten gains technically don't exist.

And the reason I pointed out that his insider trading conviction was in France is because quite often certain crimes are not crimes in other countries.

You made an assertion that was completely and totally without foundation, then claimed to have "proved" your point. Other than nitpicking a couple of my points, you're right back where you started. Nowhere.

And if you bother to respond, perhaps you could back up your statement instead of nitpicking. It's so typical of the wingers on this board. Respond to an accusation against your guy with a completely unrelated accusation against someone else. Not exactly a defense.

Earle is a hack who got in ... (Below threshold)

Earle is a hack who got in over his head and Delay will walk. That's my prediction. And it will be fun to watch Chris and the other lefties implode when this happens.

Hmmm."ed ed ed. Pl... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"ed ed ed. Please share with us the exhaustive investigation that allows you to make such a declarative statement (hasn't ever done anything?). I'm sure DeLay would appreciate whatever definitive evidence you have, as well."

Sure. It's called the MSM and the criminal justice system.

If you have anything to the contrary, please list'em. Otherwise all you have is Ronnie Earle.

And Ronnie Earle is pretty much nothing.

[email protected] wavemaker</... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ wavemaker

"In fact, most campaign finance laws do prohibit the act of hiding or misrepresenting the true identity of the donor, or using a series of connecting deposits and contributions through various organizations to get around, say, contribution limits or bundling."

True.

But that doesn't describe what happened here at all. The money sent by the RNC to the Texas candidates was entirely legitimate. It came from private donors and didn't include any corporate funds. Even Ronnie Earle admits this to be true.

What Earle is trying to make illegal is a completely legal transfer of funds from one PAC to another. If the money going to Texas were the same dollars coming from Texas, then there might be a case. But we're talking about two completely different sets of money, originating from completely different sets of donors.

It's a completely ridiculous case and I think it will either get thrown out or, if the judge is a partisan hack, will go to trial and then get thrown out.

The only question is if Earle gets punished or if Earle and the judge gets punished.

Robert said "Corporation... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Robert said "Corporations are legal entities and have interests. If you ban them from the political process, their influence will be lower, and thus corporate taxes (and regulation) higher, over time."

I did not suggest banning them from the political process. Corporations are free to 'speak' and lobby and express their interests all they want. They just should not be allowed to contribute money directly to political campaigns. Their money skews the whole political process.

Corporations can always influence elections by educating their employees and stockholders. Then, if those employees and stockholders agree with the corporation and are so inclined, the employees and stockholders can make contributions to campaigns. But the money will come from individuals, not from multinational conglomerates.

I do stand corrected on the... (Below threshold)
Michael:

I do stand corrected on the money-laundering issue. My apologies.

As far as being emotionally over-invested, you're absolutely right. ( for reasons that could cost me my job, I can't elaborate )

The whole thing is just sickening. I'm certainly not on Earle's side any more than I am on DeLay's. They're both shit-sacks. Most politicians are. If you don't believe that most politicians are shit-sacks you either a) haven't spent any time around them when they're not in front of cameras OR b) are seriously deluding yourself.

The laws are in place for a reason, but the people making these laws are the one's benefitting from them. Why the hell do you think there's no REAL effort at campaign finance reform? These people aren't about to cut their own throats.

Working throught the system just DOES NOT work, because these people OWN and RUN that system. ( not to get too X-Files on you or anything ). I mean, do you honestly think that we're party to even a third of the truth? We all talk out our asses about information that is fed to us that may or may not be even remotely factual. Who do you trust? None of these bastards, that's for sure.

Earle and DeLay are so infuriating to each other because they're so damn much alike. They both have abused their power and are appalled that anyone would DARE to question them.

edWhat you said wa... (Below threshold)
Chris:

ed

What you said was DeLay "hasn't ever done anything that other Republicans *and* Democrats haven't also done." If what you meant was that he's never been convicted of anything, that's a very different story. With the ongoing sllegations, and the three admonishments from the ethics committee (imagine if he hadn't been able to handpick the committee) there is a very real distinction between the two points. I was responding to what you wrote, not what you may have thought.

And I'm sorry to disappoint, but my head won't explode if DeLay gets off. He's a scumbag and I'd love to see him swing, but I recognize that he's very powerful and these cases are hard to prove. That's why I've never declared him guilty, unlike the people on this board who know no more about the case than me, but somehow feel competent to declare him innocent.

Please realize also that co... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Please realize also that corporations are going to influence government regardless of what campaign contributions they make because by and large they provide the economy that provides the tax dollars that the politicians play with. All banning corporate campaign money does is protect economic demogogues.

Sheik -- I agree. Corporate... (Below threshold)

Sheik -- I agree. Corporate money (especially from public companies) shouldn't be donable.

ed -- Take this hypo: I have maxed out individually to COngressman Blunderbuss, and so has TEXASPAC. TEXASPAC say to me, give us $1000, we'll contribute it to RNCC, and they'll give $100 to Blunderbuss. TEXASPAC send the money to RNCC with a note saying "senda $1000 to Blunderbuss."

No can do amigo.

[email protected] wavemaker</... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ wavemaker

"No can do amigo."

Sorry but it doesn't work like that.

PACs are required by federal and state election laws to track the number, date of and amounts of any donations by individuals or corporations. As an example I believe Texas restricts the total amount that can be donated by an out-of-state donor to $100. So if you donate $1000 to the RNC, they must track that donation. If the RNC then sends $100 of your $1000 to a Texas candidate, then they have to inform the recipient of who the original donor was and the amount given. The recipient then cross-checks the names and amounts on that list to ensure that no single donor exceeds the donation limit. If anyone exceeds the limit, then those funds are rejected and returned to the RNC.

I.e. Both the PAC and the recipients must track the origin, identity, date of transaction and the amounts, plus total amounts, for every donation/transaction.

And then so does the state or federal election commission because each PAC and candidate must file regular paperwork that describes where they got the money, when, from whom, how much and where they spent it.

This is why under Texas Election Law, as an example, there are an enormous set of restrictions on PAC and campaigns unless and until they appoint a treasurer, who is then responsible for doing all of this paperwork and filing the necessary forms.

...

This is why I think campaign finance laws need to really be reformed and simplified.

Hmmm.I damn sure h... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

I damn sure hope that Earle doesn't indict DeLay again over some Texas election law nonsense. I have no desire to re-read it. ugh.

The horror, the horror.

[email protected] Chris... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ Chris

"What you said was DeLay "hasn't ever done anything that other Republicans *and* Democrats haven't also done." If what you meant was that he's never been convicted of anything, that's a very different story."

What I mean is that, so far as I'm aware of, every single charge brought against DeLay has been shown to be common practice in the House. That of course doesn't mean that it isn't illegal. It doesn't mean that it may not be unethical. But it's a pretty silly thing for people be charging DeLay with if they're doing the same things.

Sheik,You state th... (Below threshold)
robert:

Sheik,

You state that Corporations would still be allowed to “speak” and “lobby” and to “educate their employees and stockholders.” OK fine. In today’s world, if one interest “talks” and another interest “contributes”, I ask for your arguments as to which has influence.

You have missed my main point - that however done – if you limit or prevent effective corporate participation, over time, taxes and regulation will grow. If taxes and regulation grow, you will have fewer corporations, and those you have will be smaller and less profitable. Now one can argue that less corporations, and smaller ones at that, is a good thing or not; but it is a difficult argument that downsizing will not occur. I still await your attempt.

By what logic, by the way, makes “healthy” an involvement of 20 million by Soros while a like amount by GM “skews” the whole political system? Is a $ 10M contribution by a Saudi individual to a library somehow, then, healthier than Microsoft? (Microsoft had long avoided political contributions until anti-trust action forced them to get involved – you figure it out).

Past efforts at campaign finance reform have largely failed. Where there is a will, and a need, there is a way – I give you the Keating five. Or, if you have a corporation, say Tyson Foods, and a candidate, say Clinton, you can easily get by with a brokerage agent that allows allocations sufficient to allow candidate to grow $ 1,000.00 into $ 100,000.00, all known odds to the contrary.

Or you will get cash in brown paper bags like the Chinese did, or like the UN.

The fact is that is costs $10M to $60M to run for the US Senate. Given this, the Senators run an almost annual shakedown called a tax bill. First, proposals are floated that would gut certain business sectors, and then lobbies are forced to contribute to mitigate the damage. Sometimes, it is less the “evil corporations” seeking to buy influence, than it is the Congreemen themselves who shake them down. Our US tax code is thousands of pages long and it is the congress that made it so.

I maintain that corporations should be allowed to defend their interests and that, if money is the language of politics, why make corporations speak a different language?

New laws will only beget new ways to get by them.
If you think that talking only will work, then you are probably too naive' for this discussion.

Hmmmm."I maintain ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"I maintain that corporations should be allowed to defend their interests and that, if money is the language of politics, why make corporations speak a different language?"

I have to agree. If you limit the political participation by corporations then you're going to get corporations that will look for ways to enter the political arena through individuals. Heck that's how they do it now through lobbyists. I could easily see a corporatin cutting a $10 million check to a lobbyist so he could then make the donation for them.

And I still think it could be unconstitutional to limit corporate free speech in this way.




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