Thursday, September 29, 2005

Indicting a Ham Sandwich (DeLay)

By Mark Moore (click "comments" below for article).


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Readers here know that at AW we are conservative, but not partisan. We call them like we see them.

House Majority Leader Tom Delay, close relative of former state senator Gunner Delay, has been indicted by a Grand Jury in Travis County Texas. The exact nature of the charges is unclear, except that it seems to involve shifting money back and forth in an effort to get around campaign spending laws.

The County Prosecutor who is over this case is long-time Democratic office holder Bobby Earl. He has a history of indicting his political enemies in both parties. Those who say Earl is shooting straight point the how many democrats he has prosecuted over the years. In liberal Travis county there have always been a lot more Democrats than Republicans, so the fact that he has prosecuted more Democrats than Republicans means little.

We have always held here that the law is the law, and should be enforced no matter if it is broken by friend or foe. We still hold to that, even when we disagree with the law. In this case though, the problem goes way beyond disagreeing with the law. The problem is that the law is so hard to define that the line between legal and illegal activity is hopelessly blurry.

We are opposed to laws limiting how much an individual or corporation wants to support a candidate or party. Such laws are an unconstitutional restriction on the politcal speech of all citizens.

One version of the "crime" is that Delay got corporations to give to a PAC which then gave money to specific candidates that the corporation and Delay agreed to ahead of time. What they got from the PAC could exceed what the corporation could have given them.

Such a "crime" is absurdly unprovable unless the PAC board worked for Delay or Delay held some power (not influence) over them. Once the money is given to the PAC, they could give it to anyone they wanted regardless of what Delay or the donors of the money intended. The donors had to know this.

It is often said that you can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwhich. We are not Republican lackeys here by any means, but it seems to this reporter that the type of law Delay is accused of breaking is hopelessly vaugue. He is about as guilty as a ham sandwich, which is to say not at all.

I believe that this is a politcally motivated prosecution, and an example of why liberal Democrats should never be trusted with government power. To those who do not believe in absolute right and wrong, the law cannot be used to uphold right, but only to impose one's will on others.

8:38 PM, September 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding! This is very straight forward. It's more commonly known as "money laundering" which is exactly what the charges specify -- done in the act of contravening campaign finance laws. What's so murky about this?

6:25 AM, September 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is a mistake for conservatives to defend Tom DeLay. We can be true conservatives, committed to the rule of law, without having to defend Republican officials like DeLay, Frist, Rove, and Libby who engage in such illegal or unethical actions. Defending them only weakens our cause.

11:53 AM, September 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom DeLay is innocent until proven guilty. Until he is convicted of a crime then it is a mistake for conservatives to run for cover and not defend an honorable man against a corrupt prosecutor.

If the evidence is absolutely overwhelming against DeLay (in the same manner in which the stain on Mondica's dress matched BC's DNA) then I can understand not defending him. In this case he is only charged with one count of conspiracy. There is nothing specific in this indictment.

Let's not be weak-kneed. Let's be principled and convict him only if he truly deserves it.

I call on true conservatives to show back bone!

12:18 PM, September 30, 2005  
Blogger Mr. Toast said...

Anonymous@6:25, did you bother to read the article, or just the headline?

Such a "crime" is absurdly unprovable unless the PAC board worked for Delay or Delay held some power (not influence) over them. Once the money is given to the PAC, they could give it to anyone they wanted regardless of what Delay or the donors of the money intended.

The PAC may very well be guilty of violating campaign finance laws through money laundering. What's this to do with DeLay unless he's in charge of the PAC?

4:37 PM, September 30, 2005  
Blogger The Partisan Arkansan said...

It appears to me that this is just a bunch of libreal Garbage. Just look at the fact that at a Democratic fundraiser bragged about the fact he was going to take down Delay. But the really sad thing is that the Republican Party shoots its wounded Just look at Trett lott he had to go for humoring ole Strom thurmound while the Klansman Bob Bird gets a pass as just a crazy old man . I will be very surprised If Delay isnt sent back to Texas so the party Can save face. And lastly I think a little diffrent than some and am a PARTISAN but I draw the line with crimnal actvities but you know that ole saying of yellow dog democrates , well I would vote for that ole yellow dog over a Democrate .

5:30 PM, September 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I have to admit. I didn't get the reference to "indicting a ham sandwich."

For all those in Rio Linda (and myself) here is the scoop.

From Wikipedia:

Some argue that the grand jury is unjust as the defendant is not represented by counsel and/or does not have the right to call witnesses. Intended to serve as a check on prosecutors, the opportunity it presents them to compel testimony can in fact prove useful in building up the case they will present at the final trial.

In practice, a grand jury rarely acts in a manner contrary to the wishes of the prosecutor. Judge Sol Wachtler, the former Chief Judge of New York State, was quoted as saying, "A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich".

Thanks go to the NeoConFemBot on setting me straight on that.

7:39 PM, September 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In theory this seems to be a similar practice instituted by the Democratic Party of Arkansas in the 1994 and 1996 election cycles. In that case the state Dems took large sums of money from Congressman Marion Berry and the DNC then re-rerouted it for use in local and state campaigns, which is against FEC rules and regulations. It was investigated by the FEC and a hefty fine was brought down, something in the area of 50K against the Dem Party. Seems this would fall into the venue of the FEC rather than a local prosecutor that has a political agenda. Of course we live in a time, especially if your an elected official in the GOP that your guilty until proven innocent, rather than innocent until proven guilty.

6:41 AM, October 01, 2005  
Blogger Mr. Toast said...

Make that a double-decker ham sandwich; second indictment from another grand jury (same prosecutor) announced concerning alleged money laundering by Delay.

9:41 PM, October 04, 2005  
Blogger Swingin80 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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