Thursday, September 29, 2005

DeLay indicted

Those of you who've been here for a while know that I am no fan of Tom DeLay. I think he's an arrogant blowhard, drunk with power. Yet I can't help but wonder how much of this indictment is a political witch-hunt.

Michelle Malkin has a great post (frequently updated) detailing the goings-on with the case. I'll let you read it for yourself, but here are a few things of interest about the Democrat prosecutor, Ronnie Earle:
The Travis County, Texas, prosecutor investigating Mr. DeLay has a history of using his office for partisan ends."(Congressional prerogative, The Washington Times, November 19, 2004)

Earle has demonstrated a past zeal for indicting conservative figures and even liberals with whom he has personal or professional disagreements. (Target: DeLay, National Review, April 11, 2005)

Earle's partisan prosecutions - which have frequently failed - are designed for political harm, not legal harm. Earle is the same partisan prosecutor who politically indicted and failed to convict:

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (1994, Earle made a series of trumped-up charges, including that the demure Hutchison had physically assaulted an employee. Earle dropped the case during the trial.)

Conservative Democrat Bob Bullock (when he was Comptroller - later he was Lt. Governor)

Democrat Attorney General Jim Mattox (political foe in the 1980's, charges fell apart at trial)

Ronnie Earle's three year political vendetta against Rep. DeLay has been marked by:

Illegal grand jury leaks,
A fundraising speech by Earle for the Texas Democrat party that inappropriately focused on the investigation,
Misuse of his office for partisan purposes, and
Extortion of money for Earle's pet projects from corporations in exchange for dismissing indictments he brought against them.

Ronnie Earle has been frequently criticized for his methods:

The Dallas Morning News criticized Earle in the Hutchison case:

"the impression of partisan unfairness has certainly been reinforced by the leaks and public comment about Hutchison's case from the District Attorney's office throughout the summer. That the Grand Jury investigation has been conducted with so much fanfare such as the tip-offs to the new media when key records were seized from the former treasurer's office has added a darker tone to the cloudy proceedings." (Hutchison Probe; Fair and Speedy trial is essential, The Dallas Morning News, September 28, 1993)

The Houston Chronicle called into question Earle's impartiality and judgment:

"The fact that Earle refuses to recognize his blunder and would do it again calls into question whether he has the necessary impartiality and judgment to conduct the investigation that to a great extent will determine whether Texas election campaigns will be financed and perhaps determined by corporations or by individuals."

(Self-inflicted wound; District attorney's poor judgment in speaking at a Democratic fund-raiser provides an unintended boost for DeLay's defenders., The Houston Chronicle, May 20, 2005)
If this guy is drawing the ire of some pretty GOP-unfriendly MSM sources like the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News, and considering the above points (which are a drop in a bucket), one has to question his objectivity.

Having said that, if DeLay is guilty, he'll rightly pay for it. If DeLay is innocent, he will remain a free man. However, his national image will be tarnished (more than it already was before this), and he will likely not get his leadership post back. Hmmmmm...maybe that's the point?

Finally, I reflexively question the charges when I see the MSM getting worked up more than Barney Frank at a front-row table at Chippendale's. Especially when one considers that Nancy Pelosi was actively (and illegally) circumventing election laws, and that Chuckie Schumer's staff was actively invading privacy and stealing credit info on a political foe...yet the MSM has been quieter than Hillary Clinton during lovemaking. liberal media bias!

UPDATE (9/29/05 - 8:55 p.m. EST): Byron York tells us that for the last two years, Prosecutor Earle "has given a film crew 'extraordinary access' to make a motion picture about his work on the case." But I'm sure this isn't a political witch hunt, though...just as I'm sure that the National Organization for Women (NOW) is just a group of average Janes with no lesbian agenda!