While listening to talk radio this morning, I learned of some interesting developments in the case for indicting Tom DeLay, House Majority Leader until his resigning the post earlier this week. The Republicans in the House of Representatives have a rule that states a member in a leadership position must step down if under indictment. The Democrats have no such rule.
As anyone with ears knows, the indictment has been suspect from the start. Let me say upfront that Tom DeLay is from my part of the world but he is not my representative in Washington, DC. Love him or hate him, he is an American citizen entitled to the same rights as all other citizens. I have been holding back on this subject as the facts seem to be fleshing themselves out more and more on a daily basis.
I am not a native Texan. I don't have a vast knowledge of Texas politics but I do know some facts. Texas was once, not so long ago, a proud state in the democrat's column. That is the history of the south in general. As the political scene has changed in recent times, the state has gone firmly in the red state column.
For the past 30 years, a DA in Austin, the state capital, by the name of Ronnie Earle has reigned by literally indicting everyone he felt was catering to big business too much. He is a crusader against corporate money in politics. OK. Texas is one of the states in the union that as made it illegal for corporate money to go to candidates. I am not an expert on campaign finance by any means but I don't particulary have a problem with that law.
So, over the years, Ronnie Earle has indicted scores of politicans with whom he has a beef. He has indicted many more democrats than republicans over the years simply because there were more democrats in past years. He is of the reputation that he indicts for political vendetta and he is not too bright. He even indicted himself once. I'm not kidding. Truth is stranger than fiction in politics.
Since 2002, when Tom DeLay was helping the state republican leadership redistrict the congressional districts, Ronnie Earle has been on the warpath. He has convened six grand juries with the intent to indict Tom DeLay on any charge that he thought may stick. None would do so. Then, on the last day of the seventh grand jury's session, he was able to put together an obtuse indictment and run to the cameras for a press conference on a Friday afternoon. Over the weekend, attorneys from both party affiliations declared this indictment to be a joke. DeLay has put together a law team that has previously defeated Earle with not much of a struggle at all. Especially for a previous case involving Kay Bailey Hutchinson, now a Senator and previously the state comptroller. For that case, he appeared for opening arguments and declared he had no case at all and the judge threw the case out of the court. Again, not too bright. Essentially admitting he only wanted the splash in the media against her.
Anyway, on the radio today I learned new facts. Radio station KLBJ in Austin did an interview with the foreman of the grand jury. The interview, which was taped and available for all to hear if interested, produces evidence of blatant perjury from this man. The foreman stated that he has been bothered by radio ads aired during the last election cycle in support of candidates he wasn't supporting and he vowed revenge. The ads were apparently in connection with the DeLay supporters and he vowed then that he would work to get some kind of indictment against DeLay. Hmm...
I have been a member of a grand jury. I know that when you are called for jury duty you are subjected to a series of questions about any predetermined opinions or thoughts you may have on a variety of subjects. Then you a told to answer falsely is a felony. This man intentionally lied and committed a felony yet he is doing interviews proudly declaring his mission accomplished.
The first indictment issued was for an alleged crime committed in 2002, yet the law that was alleged to be broken was not in effect until 2003. Oops. So Earle called together the 8th jury on Tuesday and got an indictment concerning money laundering after the 7th grand jury refused to go along. This second indictment was meant to cover Earle's ass on the first indictment. Alrighty then.
So this is quite the interesting mess. DeLay's attorneys have gone for a subpeona against the two Austin filmmakers who have been following Earle since this adventure started in 2002 and they have been allowed "extraordinary access" throughout the process. The attorneys want all film and outtakes from the interviews with Earle. All of this info can be read on the Austin American Stateman's website. Earle is an elected democrat and actively partakes in fundraising for the party and makes speeches declaring his intent to indict DeLay no matter how long it takes.
Who says politics is boring?