Wednesday, September 28, 2005

DeLay Is Indicted

House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay (R-TX) has been indicted by a Texas grand jury for conspiracy in an alleged attempt to misuse campaign funds. The indictment document says what it says, the grand jury voted as it did. And if DeLay committed a prohibited act, he needs to pay the price. Period.

But let's take a look at the prosecutor, Ronnie Earle and his history. Here is a piece by Byron York, and several by Ed Morrisey at Captain's Quarters here, here, and here. It makes one wonder just how justice-oriented, rather than politically driven this prosecutor is when he is willing to funnel payments to cronies in exchange for dropped charges.

Ronnie Earle's New York Times article "A Moral Indictment" is equally puzzling, as a prosecutor charged with enforcing the law is opining in a national newspaper about the inner workings of Congress which have absolutely nothing to do with the case he was pursuing against Tom DeLay. Is it legal or is it political?

But it strikes me as unprofessional that he would comment on an ongoing investigation at a political function. And in fact it is as Ed Morrisey notes. But that's not all.

There is such a thing as malicious prosecution. That means prosecution of individuals the prosecutor has reason to believe are not guilty. And doing that in any of the states in the Union can put the prosecutor's license at risk. Because prosecution is a frightening power in the hands of individuals, and all the more frightening if the person wielding it is a political operator with political objectives in mind. It is a power that can be used to ruin lives and reputations.

And if you don't think that there is a greater political objective here, reread the NYT editorial. Earle never would have made such statements if it was all about the law and evidence. Nor would he have bothered with DeLay if he were not such a huge fundraiser for the Republican party, who did much to channel money into Republican coffers.

But all of this is irrelevant if DeLay really did an illegal thing. I look forward to the trial and pray that it is indeed speedy.

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