More on Delay from
Indicted DeLay leaves House leadership
The second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom
DeLay, said on Wednesday he would step aside temporarily from his leadership
post following an indictment on a campaign-finance charge.
A grand jury in Travis County, Texas, indicted DeLay on a single felony
conspiracy charge related to fund-raising activities by a political action
committee he created, CNN and the Austin American-Statesman newspaper
“I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my
position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican
Conference and the actions of the Travis County District Attorney today,”
DeLay said in a statement.
Republican Party rules require DeLay to step aside in response to an
indictment, although he can remain in Congress.
DeLay dismissed the charges as having “no basis in the facts or the law.”
“This indictment is nothing more than prosecutorial retribution by a
partisan Democrat,” he said in a statement.
DeLay represents a Houston-area district. He has been under investigation
by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle for possible illegal
fund-raising and use of corporate funds by his Texans for a Republican
Majority committee, or TRMPAC.
DeLay’s lawyer, Bill White, said in a quote reported by CNN: “It’s a
skunky indictment if they have one. Like a dead skunk in the middle of the
road, it stinks to high heaven.”
DeLay’s lawyers will hold an afternoon news conference in the Texas
capital Austin, where the grand jury met, the American-Statesman reported.
Texas law generally prohibits corporate money from being used for
On September 8, TRMPAC and lobby group Texas Association of Business were
indicted on charges of illegally funneling corporate donations into the 2002
elections for Texas Legislature.
Three men — John Colyandro, Jim Ellis and Warren Robold — with links to
DeLay and the committee were indicted last year in the case and are awaiting
trial. They were charged with accepting a total of $600,000 in illegal
TRMPAC’s money and expertise helped Republicans win control of the Texas
Legislature for the first time since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era.
At DeLay’s urging, the Legislature then conducted a controversial
remapping of congressional districts that resulted in more Republicans from
Texas being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
DeLay has denied any wrongdoing, saying he was not involved in TRMPAC’s
DeLay has repeatedly accused Earle, a Democrat, of conducting a political
witch hunt. DeLay met with Earle several weeks ago to explain his limited
role in the committee.
The grand jury, whose proceedings are not open to the public, has focused
in recent days on DeLay’s possible role in one particular transaction, the
American-Statesman reported. The newspaper said if convicted on the
conspiracy charge, DeLay would face a sentence of up to two years.
In September 2002, Colyandro, TRMPAC’s executive director, sent a blank
check to Ellis, who was DeLay’s primary fund-raiser in Washington.
According to a money-laundering indictment against the two men, Ellis is
accused of having the Republican National Committee launder $190,000 of
corporate donations into noncorporate money that was distributed to seven
candidates for the Texas House of Representatives.
The spin has already started and its going after Ronnie Earl, the prosecutor,
and accusing him of “partisan
grandstanding“. Ironically it seems that Ronnie Earl has
Democrats than he has Republicans.
I am constantly checking the Republican National
Committee‘s website to see if they have any releases about the issue. So far
they are quiet on this matter. The
already has their posting about it.