DeLay associates indicted in investigation [AP]There's been increasing buzz that DeLay may be off the hook indictment-wise, and can now turn his attention to the coming ethics probes. But as I discussed towards the end of this post on Saturday, things may be a little murkier than they seem. In short, if Earle has given up looking at DeLay because of jurisdiction, why not refer him to the proper channels? Perhaps the proper channel would be a Republican hack, but let them try and pull a cover-up and see how it goes, right? And why just meet with him cordially rather than having him testify before the Grand Jury, even if just for the sake of the cases against Colyandro and Ellis? Again, DeLay could be off the hook, but these questions still stand at the moment.
Two associates of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay were charged Tuesday with two additional felony charges of violating Texas election law and criminal conspiracy to violate election law for their role in the 2002 legislative races.
The indictment is the seventh this month from a Travis County grand jury investigating the use of corporate money in the campaigns that gave Republicans control of the Texas House.
Jim Ellis, who heads Americans for a Republican Majority, and John Colyandro, former executive director of Texans for a Republican Majority, already are facing charges of money laundering in the case. Colyandro also faces 13 counts of unlawful acceptance of a corporate political contribution. The use of corporate money to influence political races is illegal in Texas.
The money laundering charges stem from $190,000 in corporate money that was sent to the Republican National Party. The party then spent the same amount of money on seven candidates for the Texas Legislature.
Americans for a Republican Majority, also known as ARMPAC, is DeLay's national fundraising committee. The Republican from Sugar Land helped create Texans for a Republican Majority.
Money laundering is a first-degree felony with a punishment of 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The two violations of the Election Code constitute a third-degree felonies punishable by a possible prison sentence of 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Criminal conspiracy as charged in this indictment is a state jail felony with a possible punishment of 180 days to 2 years in the State Jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
As I said in that post, "it sure looks to me like Earle has a few cards left to play."
Perhaps the infamous widely cast net of "conspiracy" is one of those cards - we shall see.