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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

TX-22: Tom DeLay Facing Life in Prison

Posted by Bob Brigham

There is a major political battle brewing in the twenty-second congressional district of Texas where embattled Republican Majority Leader Congressman Tom DeLay is being challenged by former Congressman Nick Lampson.

Last spring, this race looked competitive because everyone knew Rep. Tom DeLay was crooked. Then this race catapulted because Tom DeLay was indicted for conspiracy to committ crookedness. Yesterday, DeLay was indicted again, this time for money laundering with a bonus charge of conspiring to launder money.

And now DeLay's trickster lawyers have him looking at life in prison:

A bit of a chess game is developing in Texas, as Ronnie Earle attempts to make Tom DeLay pay for his sins. First, we had an indictment on conspiracy, a charge which carries a penalty of six months to two years in jail. "Conspiracy!" Republican operatives mocked. "This is just a conspiracy against Tom DeLay." And really, people said, conspiracy is just what you charge when you've got nothing better.

But then DeLay lawyer Dick Deguerin, who embarrassed Ronnie Earle in the Kay Bailey Hutchison case, files a motion to say the conspiracy statue didn't apply to campaign finance law in TX until September 2003, a year after DeLay dreamt up his little conspiracy.

Wham!! Just a few hours later, Earle (who seems to have snuck a new grand jury into his back pocket without Deguerin noticing) gets a jury to indict on money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Charges which carry sentences of up to life in prison for the money laundering charge, and twenty years for the conspiracy to commit money laundering.

So DeLay's lawyers had a client looking at 2 years and their expert legal maneuvering positioned their client to now be looking at life behind bars?

Back in Sugar Land, the Democratic candidate for congress is letting the courts and the national media give Congressman DeLay his due. Reports indicate Nick Lampson is keeping his focus on running hard for the Texans in the district, instead of just running against DeLay.

Here is Lampson's statement:

"We always knew ethics would be an issue for Tom DeLay, but I cannot make that the entire basis of my campaign. I now have to work even harder to get my agenda out to the voters of this district, and present a positive alternative to Congressman DeLay. I will campaign on a return to fiscal discipline, service to constituents and security for Southeast Texans. Ethics will inevitably be a part of this race, but it will be up to the judicial system to decide whether or not Tom DeLay is guilty."

Indeed, the judicial system will decide whether DeLay is guilty of corruption, but the voters are already making up their minds about whether Tom DeLay is crooked.

DeLay's re-election campaign will be one of the most expensive in the nation and is anchored in a high-dollar media market. But if Nick Lampson has enough money to get out his message, Tom DeLay's past will continue to fuel the ethical fires consuming the Republican Party.


Posted at 01:19 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Culture of Corruption, Republicans, Scandals, Texas | Technorati

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Tom DeLay's fancy lawyer Dick Deguerin appears to have made a colossal tactical blunder. DeLay probably had a deal with the prosecutor to plead guilty to the relatively minor charge of conspiracy (maximum sentence, 2 years). Then Dick Deguerin tried [Read More]

Tracked on October 4, 2005 04:45 PM