Mar 22, 2004

The GOP DeLay Strategy

Excerpts from CQ Daily on Tom DeLay and TRMPAC:

It may be one of the biggest political corruption investigations in Texas since the early 1970s, when the Sharpstown stock fraud scandal led to a major housecleaning of the state’s then-Democratic power structure. Yet Republicans in Congress say few among them are talking about it, even though the alleged wrongdoing centers on one of the most powerful GOP figures in both Washington and Texas: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

“I haven’t heard it discussed at all,” said House Appropriations Chairman C.W. Bill Young of Florida. “Not a word,” offered another senior House Republican.
...
The Republican silence on the subject on Capitol Hill may be partly out of election-year sensitivity, because DeLay is once again being counted on by his colleagues to raise enormous amounts of campaign cash from corporate America. But some Republicans also maintain that the probe is not yet being taken seriously in Washington because, in their view, it is being conducted by an overtly partisan Democratic prosecutor.

“Most people believe that DeLay is deliberately targeted for a lot of the same reasons that Gingrich was deliberately targeted,” said Rep. William M. “Mac” Thornberry, R-Texas, referring to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia (1977-99). “If you take out someone you see as central to the party operations, you strike a major political victory.”

Now anybody who has read this blog (or other recent coverage) knows how ridiculous the charges of partisanship are (again, DA Earle has prosecuted more than twice as many D’s as R’s in his career), and also knows that there is ample evidence suggesting that the entire concept behind the PAC was to launder corporate money, as a fundraising letter bragged about a donation to TRMPAC being used in ways corporate money usually was not.  DeLay et. al contend that it was perfectly legal, but when they decided to take the course of sending money to the RNC so that it could be sent back only one of two things was going to happen.  1) It turns out that it is illegal, and TRMPAC goes down in flames, or 2) DeLay and TRMPAC are found technically not guilty, and the 100-year-old law barring corporate money becomes utterly obsolete and they might as well strip it from the books.  Furthermore, it was exactly this kind of abuse that the law was meant to prevent, so the Republicans can act like it’s a mountain out of a molehill, but make no mistake, DeLay’s move was as brazen as it gets, and the resulting Texas redistricting was as massive of consequence as one could imagine.  And the rest of the Republicans can play dumb and try to smear Earle all they want, all they do in taint themselves with DeLay’s corruption.


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