Thursday, September 29, 2005

Political witch hunts

Travis Country District Attorney Ronald Earle is the prosecutor who obtained the indictment against House Speaker Tom DeLay yesterday.

Two months ago, Ronald Earle spoke and a Democrat Party fundraiser. He got the biggest ovation of the night when he said "I am the man who is going to bring down Tom DeLay."

And back in May, he was the featured speaker in Dallas for the Texas Values in Action Coalition, a Democratic political action committee. The prosecutor talked about his investigation into Republican corporate contributions and mentioned Mr. DeLay. "This case is not just about Tom DeLay," he told the audience. "If it isn't this Tom DeLay, it'll be another one, just like one bully replaces the one before."

Political analysts said Earle's appearance left him open to questions about his motives.

"It may help Tom DeLay establish his case that Ronnie Earle's investigation is a partisan witch hunt," said Richard Murray, a political scientist with the University of Houston.

"It clearly fuels the perception that his investigation is politically motivated. It was probably not a wise move," said Larry Noble, a former Federal Election Commission lawyer who heads the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.

Attorneys who have studied the indictment say that there is no claim of any specific criminal act by Tom DeLay. In fact, the financial exchange which is at the center of the alleged conspiracy was completely legal. The indictment is a partisan political attack, intended to let Democrats throw around words like "conspiracy" and "money laundering."

This is not the first time that Ronald Earle has used his position to launch baseless political attacks. Three times he tried to indict Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Each time he was laughed out of court. And this is Earle's sixth attempt to indict DeLay.

I predict an acquittal and complete exoneration for Tom DeLay.

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