PERSON OF THE WEEK - Sep. 25 - Oct. 1, 2005
The single most controversial news story this week was the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay by Travis County (TX) District Attorney Ronnie Earle. Due to a rule made by the Republican Caucus, DeLay was forced to temporarily step aside as Majority Leader while under indictment. The media has had a feeding frenzy over DeLay's supposed crimes, and Democrats are thinking that they may finally have the boost that they need to take back the House in 2006. All of this without accusing Mr. DeLay of any specific wrongdoing. In fact, the indictment barely even mentions DeLay. The congressman's name is mentioned mentioned in the list of defendants at the beginning of the document, but not at all in the actual text of the accusations.
After reading the indictment, I'm not even sure that the "crimes" mentioned are even illegal in the first place. In the document, certain members the "Texans For a Republican Majority Political Action Committee" are accused of trying to circumvent campaign finance laws by accepting donations from corporations and then writing checks to candidates. The assumption is that the committee was attempting to violate a law limiting contributions to candidates by corporations. However, Political Action Committees (PACs) can legally collect as much money as they please, and what they do with that money is their decision not their donors'. The indictment is also breaks the rules in that it is not written in such a way as to allow the defendant to know what actions he is being accused of. The best that I can glean from the document is that DeLay is assumed to have committed conspiracy based on the fact that he knew the other defendants.
District Attorney Ronnie Earle has long history of indicting political opponents, both Republicans and conservative Democrats, whether he has cause or not. Most recently, he was laughed out of court when he indicted U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. He also discussed details of the DeLay case at a Democratic fundraiser in May, saying "I'm going to be the one to take down Tom DeLay!". This indictment seems to be pure politics, exploiting the Republican rule that indicted leaders must step aside (the Democrats have no such rule). If there were any substance behind the accusations, then Tom DeLay would have actually been accused of some crime in the indictment.
So, for bending the law for his own political purposes, District Attorney Ronnie Earle is ConservaGlobe's Person of the Week.
Honorable Mention: John Roberts
Technorati Tags: Person of the Week, News, Politics, Current Events, DeLay, DeLay Indictment, Indictment, Earle, Ronnie Earle
Note: I honestly could not find a picture of Mr. Earle, so I used a graphic that I thought indicated a highly partisan Democrat.