Sunday, October 02, 2005


Equal time, even for Republicans

Unlike right-wingers, who think that only their ideas should ever be heard, we liberals believe that a diversity of viewpoints makes America great. That's why we have a response today from a conservative on my posting of a few days ago on Tom DeLay's indictment:

Did y'all actually READ Delay's defense info on his sight?

I don't know all the facts, but the facts that are public sure make this look like a witch hunt.
It looks like two PAC were set up which Delay was on the board of, the TRMPAC (Texans for a Republican Majority) And another one which I can't remember. These PACs were given money by corporations, legally. These PACs Gave money to the RNC and RNSEC, which are not political parties, but are considered PACs, just as the DNC is.

Ronnie Earle is trying to convict Delay on a "conspiracy" charge (you Dems really love that word) that says that Delay Conspired with other Repubs to skirt the Texas Election Code that says "A corporation or labor organization may not knowingly make a contribution [to a political party] during a period beginning on the 60th day before the date of a general election for state and county officers and continuing through the day of the election."

by having corporations give money to the TRMPAC who in turn, gave money to the RNC and RNSEC. Now, even if the RNC was a political party, this would not be illegal, unless, the law said that a person is in violation of the code if his intent was to funnel the money to the political party, which, it does not. So, even if the RNC WAS a political party, which it is NOT, the worst Earle has on Delay is that his PAC acted within the context of the law to its political advantage, the same way all us Americans do when filing our tax return.

There just doesn't seem to be ANYTHING here, and, yes, it does seem that Ronnie Earle has a political agenda. Yes, Earle has convicted more Democrats as district attorney in AUSTIN..duh. Since Austin barely has enough Republicans to fill a phone booth, its hardly surprising that its Dist. Attorney, even when overtly partisan, has convicted more Dems. Earle has clearly CONDUCTED his investigation in an openly partisan manner, as indicated by the Houston Chronicle:

The Houston Chronicle called into question Earle's impartiality and judgment:"The fact that Earle refuses to recognize his blunder and would do it again calls into question whether he has the necessary impartiality and judgment to conduct the investigation that to a great extent will determine whether Texas election campaigns will be financed and perhaps determined by corporations or by individuals."
(Self-inflicted wound; District attorney's poor judgment in speaking at a Democratic fund-raiser provides an unintended boost for DeLay's defenders., The Houston Chronicle, May 20, 2005)

Now, unlike the "elite" media which takes right-wing potshots without comment, The Mouth gets to respond to feedback from critics.

First of all, the fact that Ronnie Earle serves as DA in a mostly Democratic county has nothing to do with the ratio of Republican vs. Democratic officeholders he has prosecuted. None of those names I mentioned in my posting were local politicans; they all were statewide officeholders. The twist here is that Earle serves the county where the State Capitol happens to be located and where Texas politicians of all stripes do their dirty deeds. As a result, he has the latitude to prosecute any criminal activity that takes place in his county no matter who commits it. In fact, his office even has a public integrity section that investigates politicians and bureaucrats, something unique to Travis County.

Bill Clinton, one of my least favorite Democrats, would certanly applaud your explanation of why DeLay and TRMPAC did nothing wrong. You have chosen to take the most legalistic and narrow view of what the players did here, and refuse to look at how their actions subverted the spirit of the law, and most likely the letter of it. I suppose you'll be asking me next for a definition of the word "is." The fact is, Texas law forbids corporate contributions to political candidates, and the maneuverings and machinations undertaken by TRMPAC and the RNC amount to money laundering. There's no doubt their intentions were to subvert the law and undermine the integrity of the 2002 state legislative election.

Please note from my column the other day that I haven't ruled out that DeLay might not be convicted by the time this is all over. But I wouldn't bet the ranch on it. William Gibson, the foreman of the grand jury that indicted DeLay, told NPR this morning that the jury was shown e-mails and phone logs, which cast our House majority leader in the most negative light. Also to consider is the speculation, discussed Friday on PBS' NewsHour, that an insider has perhaps "flipped" and will testify against DeLay to his own ass.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying all of this thoroughly. Remember a decade ago how it seemed the threshhold of proof was awfully low to brand President Clinton with all manner of crimes. All that was needed was mere allegation and even innuendo, and the lynch mob would come calling. Seems as if that threshhold has been raised skyward in recent years. But then that's the kind of moral and ethical exucse-making we've come to expect from the Right.

What a sham the Republican leadership is. What was frightening is that they were about to recall the law they passed in 1994 that requires anyone in a leadership position to step down if indicted. I believe that the general wisdom in the beltway why they passed this was to get at Rostenkowski. But now that one of their own was in trouble, they came close to recalling their own law. Thanks to the general public outcry that this didn't happen. This shows how scary and how little regard that our leaders have sometimes to play around with our laws in principle, in order to protect one of their owns hides.
Dear Throat,

Your bias is showing.

I DO find some wisdom in requiring congressmen in a leadership position to step aside if indicted. Not because they are bad men, (because an indictment does not mean they are) but because the indictment makes their leadership ineffective.

HOWEVER, I think you have your Party blinders on if you can't see the sense in the argument to getting rid of that law. You and I both know that politics can and does influence the indictment of politicians, and a law that demands that leaders step down when indicted invites the political cronyism that we see from Dist. Attorney Ronnie Earle right now. It invites it from Libs, and it invites it from Republicans.
No bias here, just the facts.

I think you're missing my point, Brian. It's not whether the law is in effect a good one or not (I see both sides of the argument), its the fact of a party passing a law in order to punish the other side. Until one of their own is in trouble, then they want to backtrack. They lose credibility and it appears of nothing but slimy political games.
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