From the Austin American-Statesman:
DeLay and two political associates are accused of conspiring to get around a state ban on corporate campaign contributions by funneling the money through the DeLay-founded Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee to the Republican National Committee in Washington. The RNC then sent back like amounts to distribute to Texas candidates in 2002, the indictment alleges.First of all, the DeLay quote reminds me of one of the all-time high points in the DeLay-Earle feud: "Being called vindictive and partisan by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog."
The money laundering charge was the first action from a new Travis County grand jury, which started their term Monday. It came just hours after DeLay's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case.
The motion was based on the argument that the conspiracy charge against DeLay was based on a law that wasn't effective until 2003, the year after the alleged money transfers.
"Since the indictment charges no offense, and since you have professed not to be politically motivated in bringing this indictment, I request that you immediately agree to dismiss the indictment so that the political consequences can be reversed," attorney Dick DeGuerin wrote in a letter to Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle.
DeLay's associates, John Colyandro of Austin and Jim Ellis of Washington, were each indicted on a money laundering charge last week. Money laundering is a charge under the criminal code, not the election code.
"Ronnie Earle has stooped to a new low with his brand of prosecutorial abuse," DeLay said in a prepared statement. "He is trying to pull the legal equivalent of a 'do-over' since he knows very well that the charges he brought against me last week are totally manufactured and illegitimate. This is an abomination of justice."
Second, I love that Earle has taken another swing at the bloated piñata of corruption that is DeLay. This is not just a nice way to smack down some of DeLay's pathetic posturing in the media, but you've got to love that he's been indicted on a charge normally reserved for someone who does the bidding of drug dealers. (Yes, Tom DeLay is firmly in the pocket of big pharmaceutical companies. I was talking about the kind of drug dealers you'd see on The Wire.) "Top Republican Indicted for Money Laundering" just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?
Third, this is just another reason to reflect on the happy thought of DeLay trussed up in orange and thrown in prison. (Conan O'Brien joked this week that a jailed DeLay would be like a Texas pickup; the rear end would be full of Mexicans.) Now, sure, there's a very good chance that DeLay would wind up in the J. Danforth Quayle III Minimum Security Prison and Equestrian Course, making deals with all the disgraced CEOs that would line the halls. But you've got to hope that there's a righteous God and he's going to send the Bugman to his own version of the Roach Motel. DeLay has always regretted not being able to spend more time with the poor, minority population of Texas, and this just might be his chance.