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Kal Belgarion Donating Member (247 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:31 PM
Original message
What did DeLay do?
I'm not as informed about the DeLay scandal as I'd like to be. What law did he break? What actually happened?

From what I've gathered, he transfered money and political information from one PAC to another, right? Can someone explain to me what happened?

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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. This ought to land Tom Delay in jail....
Indicted DeLay Steps Down From House Post By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 1 minute ago

WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was indicted by a Texas grand jury Wednesday on a charge of conspiring to violate political fundraising laws, forcing him to temporarily step aside from his GOP post. He is the highest-ranking member of Congress to face criminal prosecution.

A defiant DeLay said he had done nothing wrong and denounced the Democratic prosecutor who pursued the case as a "partisan fanatic." He said, "This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history. It's a sham."

Nonetheless, DeLay's temporary departure and the prospect of a criminal trial for one of the Republicans' most visible leaders reverberated throughout the GOP-run Congress, which was already struggling with ethics questions surrounding its Senate leader.

Republicans quickly moved to fill the void, while voicing polite support for DeLay. Speaker Dennis Hastert named Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt (news, bio, voting record) to take over most of DeLay's leadership duties.

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Kal Belgarion Donating Member (247 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Is this it?
The grand jury accused the men of conspiring to route corporate donations from DeLay's Texas committee to the Republican Party in Washington, then returning the money back to Texas legislative candidates. It was a scheme intended to evade a state law outlawing corporate donations going to candidates, the indictment said.

I see. Thanks for the link!
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usregimechange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Circumvented Campaign Finance laws in TX.
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:36 PM
Response to Original message
4. Money was collected from corporations
in Texas...corporations can't give to candidates in Texas...the money was then sent to the Republican National Commitee and then sent to the candidates in Texas. Commonly called money laundering.
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rurallib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:36 PM
Response to Original message
5. I am no expert
from what I understand he took money from corporations that cannot legally contribute to campaigns in Texas. This money was then given to the republican national committee which in turn cut checks back to various Texas republican candidates for the exact amount that the corporations had contributed. A very bad job of money laundering.
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. He violated Texas law by routing corporate money to political campaigns.
That's not illegal in many states. But Texas has this quaint notion that corporations aren't citizens, and shouldn't be donating to political campaigns. Or at least, it had that quaint notion at the time the law was written. TRMPAC laundered money through the RNC in Washington to avoid direct contributions. DeLay is charged with conspiracy to accomplish this, TRMPAC being a political organization he created, possibly for this very purpose. It's worth noting that some of the corporations accused of making the contributions have pled guilty already.
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Clarkie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. "The quaint notion that corporations aren't citizens"
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 11:24 PM by Clarkie1
You mean they still think a citizen has to be a person? That is quaint. :sarcasm:
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Texas had that common sense, once upon a time.
The legislature discussed last session legalizing the very misdeed of which DeLay is accused. I suspect they might do it this session. I think it is a good law. Alas, in this state, it seems to be a relic of a bygone time.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
7. He laundered corporate money via the RNC
to get around TX campaign finance laws.

My question is, why isn't the RNC in trouble too? Or are they?
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
8. He's an asshole
Isn't that enough? :)

He was involved in the redistricting mess in Texas. And the scandal involving the Indian casino money.
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BlueJac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:03 PM
Response to Original message
9. Delay
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
10. Engaged in a criminal conspiracy
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 10:04 PM by alcibiades_mystery
All these descriptions above are just the specifics (which are, of course, important). The problem for Delay is that he engaged with his partners in a criminal conspiracy.

Say Law A is on the books, and violation of Law A would constitute a felony. If I violated Law A, I could be prosecuted under whatever current statutes for that violation.

Now, say you and I get together and discuss ways to best violate Law A without detection, and we then go ahead and do that. Not only have we violated Law A, but we've also engaged in a criminal conspiracy to do so. That's what Delay did, and the charge is both obvious and very simple. Earle has to prove only this: That Delay and his co-conspirators together devised a mechanism for violated Texas' campaign finance law, and then followed through on that plan. So, DeLay has two feasible defenses: 1) The actions performed did not violate the Texas law; 2) DeLay himself was not involved in the planning. Let's look at both more carefully.

Option 1

As the law is stated, corporations CAN give money to political action committees. However, those monies must be segregated from any general fund. They cannot be used to support individual candidates. Rather, they can only be used for a PACs internal or logistical purposes. That's the current statute. Here's a model of what happened with TRMPAC, using only three corproations (Call them X Corp., Y Corp., and Z Corp) and three candidates (Candidate Black, Candidate White, Candidate Gray).

X Corp. donates $20,000 to TRMPAC
Y Corp. donates $30,000 to TRMPAC
Z Corp. donates $40,000 to TRMPAC

for a total of $90,000, which TRMPAC can use internally, but cannot dispurse to Candidates Black, White, and Gray.

Instead of using those funds internally, TRMPAC does the following: It writes a check for $90,000 to the Republican National Committee. Now, the Texas law says corporations cannot contribute to individual candidates, but it does not bar the RNC from doing so. So, the next day, the RNC sends Candidate Black $15,000, Candidate White $45,000, and Candidate Gray $30,000 - or the $90,000 total. The key difference now is obvious. Whereas the $90,000 could previously be used ONLY internally by TRMPAC, the new $90,000 can be disbursed to candidates. Can TRMPAC really argue that this money does NOT constitute an illegal disbursement of corporate funds to candidates simply because it was funnelled through the RNC first? That's an outrage on the law, and on common sense, but that would have to be the defense if Delay chooses option 1. He'd have to argue that what TRMPAC did was not an illegal circumvention of the law, but rather a savvy financial loophole in the law. And Delay is craven enough to make this argument, which might win legally even if it loses miserably from a public relations viewpoint (even the most die-hard Freeper would have a hard time stomaching that level of contortion and slipperiness).

Option 2

Delay's second line of defence is more precarious, since he would have to throw his co-conspirators to the wolves. He would admit that the actions in fact violated the law, but would then claim that he was not involved in any planning with respect to these actions, knew nothing about them, and didn't then engage in a coverup of these actions after they were completed. The problem for Delay here is that such ignorance of a major operation at TRMPAC is dubious, at best. Under whose authority did such an activity take place? Under what auspices would the RNC agree to the receipt and return of the TRMPAC check. To think that underlings alone conceived of and organized this activity is naive. Delay was involved in all levels of operation at TRMPAC - especially major fundraising. Could we imagine a Tom Delay who didn't know the fate of our hypothetical $90,000 of raised funds - funds that up and disappeared from the books - twice (Once when they were sent out to the RNC, and once again when they were disbursed)! It's a ridiculous proposition, but the one that Delay will hope - at the very least - to hang a jury on.

Here's the statute:

Sec. 15.02. CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY. (a) A person commits criminal conspiracy if, with intent that a felony be committed:
~ ~ (1) he agrees with one or more persons that they or one or more of them engage in conduct that would constitute the offense; and
~ ~ (2) he or one or more of them performs an overt act in pursuance of the agreement.
~ (b) An agreement constituting a conspiracy may be inferred from acts of the parties.
~ (c) It is no defense to prosecution for criminal conspiracy that:
~ ~ (1) one or more of the coconspirators is not criminally responsible for the object offense;
~ ~ (2) one or more of the coconspirators has been acquitted, so long as two or more coconspirators have not been acquitted;
~ ~ (3) one or more of the coconspirators has not been prosecuted or convicted, has been convicted of a different offense, or is immune from prosecution;
~ ~ (4) the actor belongs to a class of persons that by definition of the object offense is legally incapable of committing the object offense in an individual capacity; or
~ ~ (5) the object offense was actually committed.
~ (d) An offense under this section is one category lower than the most serious felony that is the object of the conspiracy, and if the most serious felony that is the object of the conspiracy iS 8 state jail felony, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

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Totally Committed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
13. From MSNBC:
The indictment accused DeLay of a conspiracy to knowingly make a political contribution in violation of Texas law outlawing corporate contributions. It alleged that DeLays Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee accepted $155,000 from companies, including Sears Roebuck, and placed the money in an account.

The PAC then wrote a $190,000 check to an arm of the Republican National Committee and provided the committee a document with the names of Texas State House candidates and the amounts they were supposed to received in donations, the indictment said.
The indictment included a copy of the check.

The charge against the second-ranking and most assertive Republican leader came on the final day of the grand jurys term. It followed earlier indictments of a state political action committee founded by DeLay and three of his political associates. /
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