Friday, September 20, 2013

Justice De Layed for Tom Delay is Justice Denied

The American people reacted to the excesses of the first two years of the Clinton Administration with a Republican sweep of the House and Senate in 1994. The four decades monopoly of power by the Democrats in the House of Representatives was shattered. The new Republican leaders of the House were Newt Gingrich as Speaker, Dick Armey as Majority Leader, and Tom Delay as Majority Whip. Congressman Delay served as Majority Leader from 2003-2005. Congressmen Armey and Delay were from Texas, where politics is hardball, as exemplified by “Landslide” Lyndon Johnson. Congressman Delay was one of the most effective whips in Congressional history. He enforced party discipline on major issues so effectively he was nicknamed “The Hammer.” Democrats started filing ethical grievances against The Hammer with the House Ethics Committee. Ronnie Earle served as District Attorney of Travis County, Texas for two decades, having been elected in 1997. The highly partisan Democrat acquired a reputation for prosecuting political corruption. His reputation was half deserved. The prosecutions against Democrats or Republicans were almost always against political opponents. DA Earle was politically corrupt. Among those he unsuccessfully prosecuted were popular Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and House Majority Leader Tom Delay. District Attorney Earle investigated Republican campaign practices in the 1992 elections through 8 grand juries. The Republicans gained control of the Texas House of Representatives in 1992, allowing them to redistrict Texas in 1994. An indictment was issued against Congressman Delay on September 28, 2005. This indictment was tossed by the courts. The DA tried again with a new grand jury, but it returned a “no Bill;” that is, no bill of indictment. The partisan Earle sought an indictment yet again, this time by the 11th grand jury, which returned an indictment for money laundering on September 29, 2007. Texas law prohibits corporate contributions to state elections. The Congressman collected $190,000 from donors and forwarded it to the National Republican Committee with instructions to the RNC to distribute the $190,000 to seven candidates for the Texas State House of Representatives in 2002. Congressman Delay had to step aside as Majority Leader in 2005 because of the indictment. He resigned from Congress in 2006. Congressman Delay clearly funneled corporate money to the state races, in violation of the spirit, but not the letter of Texas law. The DA claimed that the indirect funneling of corporate funds constituted money laundering. The Democrats in 2006 ran against the Republican Culture of Corruption, focusing on Congressmen Duke Cunningham of San Diego and Bill Ney of Ohio, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and Tom Delay, as well as the misdeeds of Congressman Mark Foley of Florida. The jury in liberal Austin criminally convicted him in 2010. He was sentenced to three years in prison, which was stayed pending appeal. The Texas 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction on Thursday. The majority opinion held the evidence was legally insufficient to sustain a conviction and ordered an acquittal for the Congressman. No money laundering existed because the state could not show the funds raised were tainted. Money laundering is the cleansing of dirty money, not clean money. The Delay prosecutions raise a troubling issue for our democracy – the rise of prosecutorial misconduct to crush political opponents. The Justice Department more recently engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in the political prosecution of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. Senator Stevens was convicted, but also had the sentence reversed on appeal because of the tainted evidence the government presented. He lost reelection by 3,000 votes, giving the Democrats the 60 votes they needed in the Senate to block filibusters. Few individuals can stand u to a full court prosecution by the federal government. Congressman Delay claims to have raised and spent almost $12 million in his legal defense since 1995. The extent to which the Obama Administration Internal Revenue Service singled out conservative political groups for persecution is becoming clear. We now know why Lois Lerner has taken the Fifth Amendment. The democracy is imperiled where politicians use the prosecutorial powers of the state against political opponents because of their political views rather than for actual crimes committed. 11 Grand Juries, $12 million legal fees, abusive prosecutors, where is the justice?

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