It seems everyone paying attention to politics had to know this indictment was coming. Tom Delay has been up to his elbows in at least unethical if not illegal activities for a very long time. Sooner or later, it has to catch up to you.
Of course, the right will be calling it nothing more than a political vendetta, and will get away with it to a large extent. Unfortunately, the record of prosecutions by Travis County District Attorney, Ronnie Earle, doesn’t bare that out. It seems there’s a long list of democrats that he’s gone after:
- U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, 1994: Acquitted of official misconduct and records tampering after Earle dropped the case during the trial.
- Former state Rep. Betty Denton, D-Waco, 1995: Sentenced to six months probation and fined $2,000 for listing false loans and contributions on campaign finance reports.
- Former state Rep. Lane Denton, D-Waco, 1995: Sentenced to 60 days in work-release program and six years probation, fined $6,000 and ordered to pay more than $67,000 restitution after being convicted of theft and misapplication of fiduciary property for funneling money from the Department of Public Safety Officers Association to a Denton company.
- House Speaker Gib Lewis, D-Fort Worth, 1992: In plea bargain, Earle dropped more serious charges when Lewis pleaded no contest to failing to disclose a business investment. Lewis was fined $2,000, and the judge said he took into consideration that Lewis was retiring from public office.
- Attorney General Jim Mattox, Democrat, 1985: Acquitted on felony bribery charges. Won re-election.
- State Rep. Mike Martin, R-Longview, 1982: Pleaded guilty to perjury after lying about having himself shot to gain publicity. Did not run for re-election.
- State Treasurer Warren Harding, Democrat, 1982: Pleaded no contest to official misconduct and dropped re-election bid.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Yarbrough, Democrat, 1978: Sentenced to five years for lying to a grand jury and forgery. Gave up seat.
I believe strongly in the "innocent until proved guilty" doctrine (even if the Republicans no longer do), but I am glad the guy has to at least step down as Majority Leader. And, I have to admit, I hope he’s found guilty. It’s been said that a D.A. should be able to get an indictment against a ham sandwich, but I’m guessing that, because of the high stakes of this indictment and subsequent prosecution, the D.A. has a pretty strong case.