It was bound to happen. Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX) was indicted. I had no doubt that Prosecutor Ronnie Earle would get to it eventually. He's been pursuing Delay for over two years now. Like Captain Ahab, he wouldn't rest until he's landed his white whale.
I'm not going to take the position that Delay has done no wrong. Shady dealings in raising campaign money have become the norm. Increasingly restrictive campaign finance laws have created a situation whereby politicians have to be extremely creative in raising funds. I'd be surprised if there was even one member of Congress who hadn't received at least some money that may have violated one or more laws.
As to the indictment, my initial reaction was that Delay would be acquitted at trial. Then I read the indictment today at the Smoking Gun website. Here's the case against Delay as laid out in the indictment:
-Delay is indicted as a co-conspirator.
-Delay co-founded Texans for a Republican Majority PAC with his two co-conspirators.
-Delay waived the statute of limitations so he could be indicted beyond the three year mark.
That's it folks. There are no other specific allegations against Delay in the indictment. There are several against his alleged co-conspirators, but none against Delay. No specific allegation that he even knew what the other two were up to. Don't believe me? Go read it for yourself. It's only four pages long. Kinda short for a conspiracy indictment.
My prediction now is that Delay will not only not be convicted, he will not even be tried on this charge. Earle had nothing specific about Delay's criminal conduct in the indictment because he has no evidence. Look for this thing to evaporate before it goes to trial. Earle won't want to embarrass himself in a courtroom trying to sell his evidence-free case to a jury. Besides, he's already achieved his goal. He forced Delay to step down and gave the Democrats several weeks of anti-GOP sound bites.
Legally speaking, this whole case is B.S. The real question is this: how much political impact will it have?