Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ronnie Earle - Partisan AND Hack

Travis County Prosecutor Ronnie Earle proved not only that he was a partisan but also an incompetent hack Monday when his flimsy indictment of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay fell apart because, well, there was no CRIME committed. Earle had finally cajoled the last of six grand juries after 34 months of investigations to return an indictment on conspiracy to violate the election code.

The indictment itself is absurd as no law was broken. DeLay and two others are accused of agreeing to send $190,000 of corporate money to the Republican National Committee, which, in turn, donated the same amount of noncorporate money to seven Texas candidates' campaigns. The analysis from former Department of Justice official Barbara Comstock is here. Excerpt:

However, Earle's office has sworn testimony and other exculpatory evidence showing that Congressman DeLay did not have knowledge of the transaction.

In addition:

No corporation or labor organization was indicted in this conspiracy. Neither Jim Ellis nor John Colyandro is a corporation or labor organization.

No corporation or labor organization made a contribution during 60 days of an election.

Neither the RNC nor RNSEC constitute a political party under Texas election law. They are considered PACs, just as the DNC is.

Corporations in Texas could have legally made contributions to the RNC or RNSEC during the period in question under Texas election law.

There was no violation of the Texas Election Code. There was no conspiracy. The underlying transaction was legal. Had corporations sent money directly to the RNC or RNSEC, the transaction would be legal. How could anyone conspire to do indirectly what could legally have been done directly?

The National Review in its editorial argued presciently that

These charges probably won’t survive first contact with DeLay’s attorney, who also defended Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in Earle’s crash-and-burn case against her in 1993. Hutchison, up for reelection, insisted on a jury trial. As soon as a jury was chosen, Earle refused to proceed. That judge threw out the case.

They didn't.

In a brief filed yesterday DeLay's attorney noted that the law that Earle cites didn't even apply to the election code until the year AFTER the alleged conspiracy took place.

That left Earle's office frantically scrambling to find new charges. Earle managed to then cajole a just-empaneled grand jury who had heard NOTHING about the charges to return an indictment on money-laundering. This is after he could NOT convince the other grand jury to do the same thing.

The excellent Powerline run-down on Earle's mal-feasance is here.

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