Sep 282005

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.

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