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> Tom DeLay Indicted, What does this mean for 2006?
Doclotus
post Sep 28 2005, 05:04 PM
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From ABC News:
QUOTE
A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that could force him to step down as House majority leader.

DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.

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

According to current House GOP Rules, any member of leadership that receives an indictment is required to temporarily leave their post until the case is resolved.

Questions for Debate:
1) Will Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert enforce House GOP rules and require DeLay to step down? Should he? (edit: feel free to ignore this one since he has already stepped down)

2) Do you think DeLay will keep his house seat in the 2006 election as a result of this? Or will he even run?

3) Will the Democratic Party use DeLay's indictment as a rallying point to mount a serious challenge to the current GOP majority in Congress for 2006?


This post has been edited by Doclotus: Sep 28 2005, 05:49 PM
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AuthorMusician
post Nov 11 2005, 09:31 PM
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QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Nov 11 2005, 04:12 PM)
QUOTE(Amlord @ Nov 11 2005, 01:06 PM)
Actually, for some crimes, the "I didn't know" defense is a good defense.  I believe for money laundering, it is considered the primary defense.
*


He didn't say he didn't know he was laundering money, he said he didn't know it was illegal. Just because he didn't know does not excuse him from the crime by any criminal code I'm familiar with. It also isn't very plausible when you think about it. If he didn't know what he was doing was illegal then why not just contribute that $190,000 directly to the Texas race? Why go through the trouble of sending it to Washington and sending it back? The only logical answer is that he knew exactly what he was doing.

This proves, in DeLay's own words, that he is guilty. The only question is how this will play out in court.
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Heh, ignorance of the law is no excuse for anyone else. How about the "I Forgot!" defense? It works best if you have a fake arrow through your head.

Then there's the "Everyone Else Is Doing It, Mom!" argument. Didn't work for Nixon, although there was truth to the notion.

I suppose the "It Depends on What You Mean By 'It'" one might fly. Except the It in this case isn't a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Money laundering doesn't have euphemisms.

You're right though, it all depends on the judge or jury. From what I understand, denying the crime consistently is what workings the best. Then the prosecution has to come up with solid evidence that proves the defense is lying. Otherwise, circumstantial evidence might work if the judge or jury thinks the defense is lying.

I'm not sure, but DeLay might have opened his mouth too much for the media, and now records exist of his admitting to certain actions that happen to be illegal.
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Amlord
post Nov 11 2005, 09:53 PM
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QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Nov 11 2005, 04:12 PM)
QUOTE(Amlord @ Nov 11 2005, 01:06 PM)
Actually, for some crimes, the "I didn't know" defense is a good defense.  I believe for money laundering, it is considered the primary defense.
*


He didn't say he didn't know he was laundering money, he said he didn't know it was illegal. Just because he didn't know does not excuse him from the crime by any criminal code I'm familiar with. It also isn't very plausible when you think about it. If he didn't know what he was doing was illegal then why not just contribute that $190,000 directly to the Texas race? Why go through the trouble of sending it to Washington and sending it back? The only logical answer is that he knew exactly what he was doing.

This proves, in DeLay's own words, that he is guilty. The only question is how this will play out in court.
*



That's just the thing with these complicated campaign finance laws: it's hard to say what is illegal.

Take the proposed campaign finance law that just went down to defeat in Ohio. It limited spending by in-state contributors, but had no limit on out-of-state contributions. It's whacky and hard to understand not only the logic, but the reasoning.

As for this Delay case, there are two things playing here. First, the charge of money laundering. As I said before, the classic defense for those not actually laundering the money (i.e. the donors) is the "I didn't know" defense. It can be risky, but then money laundering is a hard charge to prove regardless.

The other aspect here is the Constitutionality of the law itself. Originally, Earle was going to hold off on charging Delay until this issue was resolved in the courts. This was in your linked WaPost article on Page 3 : DeLay Team Weighed Misdemeanor Plea to Save GOP Post

QUOTE
The principal reason the deal foundered was that DeLay's attorneys wanted to postpone his plea until after the Texas appellate courts had ruled on the validity of the state election law provisions at issue, the sources said. Under their proposal, if the courts agreed the law was invalid, then all charges would be dismissed and the promise of a plea forgotten. For the two years it might take to resolve the issue, DeLay would be able to keep his post.

Earle insisted instead that DeLay enter a plea with the court immediately. He was willing only to defer punishment until appeals related to the validity of the law were exhausted; striking any other deal would show undue favoritism to DeLay, several sources said he argued. But DeLay's defense team felt such a decision would gravely damage the majority leader's political standing.


Earle really shouldn't be overly concerned about the validity of the law; that isn't his job or his call. But there is a real issue there.
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Cube Jockey
post Nov 11 2005, 10:45 PM
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QUOTE(Amlord @ Nov 11 2005, 01:53 PM)
As for this Delay case, there are two things playing here.  First, the charge of money laundering.  As I said before, the classic defense for those not actually laundering the money (i.e. the donors) is the "I didn't know" defense.  It can be risky, but then money laundering is a hard charge to prove regardless.
*


I agree it will be difficult to get a conviction in court and I'm sure that even with this statement Earle will face quite a battle. My point was that we all know as stated fact directly from DeLay that he is guilty of breaking the rules. There can be no more insinuations that he wasn't. The only question that remains is whether Earle can actually convict him.

Just a sampling of some of the comments in this thread alone that are now debunked:
QUOTE(deerjerkydave)
Already we have Democrats convicting Tom DeLay as guilty before the trial. To be honest I don't care about Tom Delay and don't quite understand the vitriol against him from the left (it existed long before these accusations). I also don't quite understand the vitriol against Harry Reid from the right. I guess I just get tired of the politics every once in a while. If I had to rate this indictment it would be 95% political, 5% substance.

QUOTE(DTOM)
Forgive my cynicism, but given the apparent vague and weak case cited in the indictment, given the on the record remarks by Earle concerning Delay, given that Earle conducted a corporate shakedown Jesse-style in 2004 for donations to a favorite organization, given that Earle has gone through several grand juries and three years of investigations........to finally render an indictment just before a three year statute of limitations expires at the end of this month.....and just in time for the 2006 election cycle........
I have the gut reaction that politics is the only force at play here. I have the gut reaction that the movie is driving the case more than the case is driving the movie.

QUOTE(digiman2024)
all i have to say about the DeLay indictment is that it is flimsy. nothing i read in the indictment even has any evidence that he was involved. i'm not here to say he is guilty or not just that it is so politically motivated.

QUOTE(Aquilla)
Back to reality here. Now Earle has to not only prove a conspiracy to committ a felony, but he also has to prove that a felony actually happened. And he can't. That's why he didn't include that charge in the first indictment. It's just a political game being played by a political hack. Same kind of crap he tried against Kay Bailey Hutchinson.


And...

QUOTE(Aquilla)
I believe the amount of money involved in the DeLay indictment was $190,000, pocket change compared to the amount of money flowing into Texas from both national parties. So, it does seem to me that in the grand scope of things, DeLay has been singled out by Ronnie Earle.

And they got Al Capone on Tax Evasion, what is your point?

This post has been edited by Cube Jockey: Nov 11 2005, 11:15 PM
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Aquilla
post Nov 12 2005, 12:13 AM
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QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Nov 11 2005, 02:45 PM)

Just a sampling of some of the comments in this thread alone that are now debunked:

[snip]



And they got Al Capone on Tax Evasion, what is your point?
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laugh.gif

One would think based on your declaration of "victory" that this should have been a slam dunk. But no.... Instead, it took three Grand Juries, the last one empaneled for a mere few hours in order to secure an indictment. Debunked? I don't think so.
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Cube Jockey
post Nov 12 2005, 12:17 AM
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QUOTE(Aquilla @ Nov 11 2005, 04:13 PM)
One would think based on your declaration of "victory" that this should have been a slam dunk.  But no....  Instead, it took three Grand Juries, the last one empaneled for a mere few hours in order to secure an indictment.  Debunked?  I don't think so.
*


I will say once again that convicting him is an entirely different matter. But what part of this statement isn't clear exactly?
QUOTE
DeLay said he was also generally aware of a plan to shift money between Texas and Washington. It called for pulling together $190,000, sending it up to Washington and getting the same amount sent back to Texas for state election campaigns.

According to matching accounts provided separately by the sources, DeLay was asked whether such a deal happened and responded yes. Asked if he knew beforehand that the deal was going to happen, DeLay said yes. Asked how he knew, DeLay said that his longtime political adviser, Ellis, came into his office, told him it was planned and asked DeLay what he thought. DeLay told Earle that he recalled saying, "Fine." He added that he knew it was corporate money but said it was fine because he thought it was legal.


This one little passage debunks every single one of the arguments presented Aquilla, including yours.
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TedN5
post Nov 21 2005, 09:51 PM
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Delay and many of his fellow representatives may have more to worry about from the Abramoff/Scanlon Justice Department investigation as I suggested earlier.

QUOTE
Scholars who specialize in the history and operations of Congress say that given the brazenness of Mr. Abramoff's lobbying efforts, as measured by the huge fees he charged clients and the extravagant gifts he showered on friends on Capitol Hill, almost all of them Republicans, the investigation could end up costing several lawmakers their careers, if not their freedom. 
 
    The investigation threatens to ensnarl many outside Congress as well, including Interior Department officials and others in the Bush administration who were courted by Mr. Abramoff on behalf of the Indian tribe casinos that were his most lucrative clients. 
 
    The inquiry has already reached into the White House; a White House budget official, David H. Safavian, resigned only days before his arrest in September on charges of lying to investigators about his business ties to Mr. Abramoff, a former lobbying partner. 
 
    "I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century," said Thomas E. Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution. "I've been around Washington for 35 years, watching Congress, and I've never seen anything approaching Abramoff for cynicism and chutzpah in proposing quid pro quos to members of Congress."
(See NYT Article).

Quite a list of Republican scandals that are finally reaching the point of public awareness: stove piping intelligence; misusing intelligence; exposing under cover agents; perjury; facilitating prisoner abuse and torture; and violations of Texas campaign laws - to say nothing of violation of House of Representatives ethic standards. Yes, I do think they will be important in the 2006 elections.
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Lesly
post Nov 21 2005, 10:00 PM
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QUOTE(TedN5 @ Nov 21 2005, 04:51 PM)
QUOTE
"I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century," said Thomas E. Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution. "I've been around Washington for 35 years, watching Congress, and I've never seen anything approaching Abramoff for cynicism and chutzpah in proposing quid pro quos to members of Congress."
(See NYT Article).

Quite a list of Republican scandals that are finally reaching the point of public awareness: stove piping intelligence; misusing intelligence; exposing under cover agents; perjury; facilitating prisoner abuse and torture; and violations of Texas campaign laws - to say nothing of violation of House of Representatives ethic standards. Yes, I do think they will be important in the 2006 elections.
*


The other items you bring up are unrelated to DeLay's case, Ted, but overall I think this is an encouraging development. Fine by me if some Democrats go down in flames alongside Republicans. A few rotten apples in jail will do more to remind lawmakers they need to take the independence of the legislature seriously than any committee rule.
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