Judge Drops Conspiracy Charges Against Congressman Tom DeLay

With the conspiracy charges out of the way Congressman DeLay can get a speedy trial he has been requesting since this criminal case was brought against him.

DeLay is accused of laundering corporate donations in September 2002 collected by his "Texans for a Republican Majority PAC" (TRMPAC) which in turn sent a $190,000 check to Terry Nelson, political director of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

The prosecutor who brought this indictment claims TRMPAC sent the check along with a laundry list of seven TRMPAC-backed 2002 GOP candidates for the Texas House.

So it would seem the “laundry list” of seven candidates TRMPAC wanted elected would be the quid pro quo TRMPAC wanted in exchange for the $190,000.00.

Two weeks later, RNSEC (state committee) did indeed write seven sequential checks to those candidates that added up to $190,000. This is the crux of the prosecutor's money laundering conspiracy. The prosecutor contends the RNC tried to hide the fact that TRMPAC was illegally channeling corporate funds into Texas campaigns.

Here is the prosecution's problem.

They do not have the “laundry list” now, nor did they have it for the indictment from the news reports I have read. So far, evidence seems to be appearance.

Then there is Texas law.

You keep reading that no corporate campaign contributions were allowed in that 60 day time frame in which Delay sent money to the RNC. Texas Law says something different.

Delay was charged with violating Texas Statute 253.104 (b-c) copied below.

§ 253.104. Contribution to Political Party

(a) A corporation or labor organization may make a contribution from its own property to a political party to be used as provided by Chapter 257.

(b) A corporation or labor organization may not knowingly make a contribution authorized by Subsection (a) during a period beginning on the 60th day before the date of a general election for state and county officers and continuing through the day of the election.
( c ) A corporation or labor organization that knowingly makes a contribution in violation of this section commits an offense. An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.

The statute the prosecutor used ignored 257.002 which allows corporate contributions used to offset expenses of the party. Everyone forgets this fact except Delay who keeps stating this at every opportunity. Read it yourself.

§ 257.002. Requirements Relating to Corporate or Labor Union Contributions

(a) A political party that accepts a contribution authorized by Section 253.104 may use the contribution only to:

(1) defray normal overhead and administrative or operating costs incurred by the party; or

(2) administer a primary election or convention held by the party.

(b) A political party that accepts contributions authorized by Section 253.104 shall maintain the contributions in a separate account.

So if the RNC can show $190,000.00 in payroll and rent etc. that was made up with that same amount from TRMPAC Delay walks away from this deal.

At this point, the prosecutor is going to have to come up with a certified copy of or a credible witnesses to a “laundry list” asking for donations to the candidates, preferably not one ginned up by Dan Rather.

If the prosecutor can NOT show a “laundry list,”or that one existed, he should be prosecuted himself.

Add to this a case little noticed mystery about a question posed to the Texas State Ethics Commission back in 1998 about donations such as these. DeLay claims to have had lawyers check his intention to use corporate donations before he did so.

Prosecutors have subpoenaed the request from the State Ethics Commission but no one is talking about who asked for clarification of the laws. If this is the reason DeLay wants a speedy trial we may find he has this up his sleeve.

Give him his speedy trial.

Ed Naile, Chair CNHT