Saturday, August 04, 2007


Texas State Prosecutor asks for Tom Delay's reindictment on conspiracy

In December 2005 ex-Representative Tom Delay of Sugar Land, former Republican Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, got a reprieve from one of the charges he faced in the State of Texas. A district court judge tossed out the charge of conspiracy to violate the Texas Election Code.

It is against the Election Code for corporations to donate money to a campaign within 60 days of an election. Delay promptly set up a PAC to do just that. Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) received money from corporations all over the country, then laundered the contributions through the ongoing criminal enterprise known as the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Though the the judge rejected the charge of conspiracy to violate the Election Code, the charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering—both felonies—remain. In June the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, all Republicans, voted 5-4 to uphold the judge's ruling.

Now comes Jeffrey Van Horn, the Texas State Prosecutor, who has asked in a friend-of-the-court brief for the appellate court to reconsider its ruling. It isn't that Van Horn is out to get Delay, who is being prosecuted by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle. it's that the ruling, if let stand, would eliminate all charges of conspiracy under state law unless the state legislature has specifically authorized the bringing of a conspiracy charge in connection with a given criminal act. Texas has a separate Conspiracy Statute.

R.G. Ratcliffe writes,

In an unusual move, the state prosecuting attorney has joined Travis County prosecutors in asking the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reverse itself and reinstate an indictment against former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

The Court of Criminal Appeals in a 5-4 ruling in June refused to reverse a district judge's decision to throw out an indictment against DeLay alleging conspiracy to violate the Election Code.

To rule against DeLay would have required the court to overturn decisions that had been issued in 1976 and 1977 regarding how the state's conspiracy law applied to other statutes.

After considering the case for 13 months, the all-Republican Court of Criminal Appeals shot Earle down on the narrow vote. But two of the judges who ruled against Earle said they did so because the earlier case law was what existed at the time of DeLay's alleged crime.

Van Horn told the court that should not matter in this case because conspiracy requires the people involved to commit a felony, not just a conspiracy. If DeLay and two co-defendants knew their actions violated the felony code, Van Horn said, then the conspiracy statute should also apply.

In an interview, Van Horn said he gave the court a brief in support of Earle's request for a rehearing because the ruling would affect many areas of criminal law. He said under the court's ruling, the conspiracy statute will only apply to crimes that have been specifically designated by the Legislature as having a conspiracy element.

As the reporter notes, courts don't like to reverse themselves. And this court may be especially responsive to the needs of Tom Delay. On the other hand, these "law-and-order" Republican judges may not relish seeing a cascade of conspiracy charges dropped if they let their ruling stand.

Related post
Indicted Republican likely to lead House Republicans (11/17/04)
Can the Republican Party be RICOed as an ongoing criminal enterprise? (9/14/05)


Friday, August 03, 2007


Buddies of the Day: Ailes and Giuliani

So far this year, one political journal found, Mr. Giuliani has logged more time on Fox interview programs than any other candidate. Most of the time has been spent with Sean Hannity, an acknowledged admirer of the former mayor.... —Russ Buettner writing in "In Fox News, Giuliani Finds a Friendly Stage"

Russ Buettner has elucidated the friendship between Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who wants to be your President. There are some points of interest.

How they met

Exactly how long Ailes and Giuliani have known each other is uncertain, but they were dining together in the late 80s—

“I had found myself at several dinners with Roger, including at his house, and each time we would wind up talking about how much we liked Ronald Reagan, and how much we agreed with his policies,” Mr. Giuliani wrote in his book, “Leadership.”

The two joined forces in the 1989 mayoral campaign, when, Mr. Giuliani later said, Mr. Ailes helped him overcome his stiffness in front of cameras so as to “connect with people” rather than launch into a “dissertation.”

Ailes became Giuliani's media advisor in the 1989 campaign.

"Fair and Balanced": Mayor Giuliani tries to put Fox News on a city-run channel

In 1996, when Mr. Ailes and Rupert Murdoch started Fox News, Mr. Giuliani intervened as mayor after Time Warner cable refused to carry the new station in the city....

.... On Sept. 20, 1996, Mr. Ailes called Mr. Giuliani to ask for help. A flurry of meetings followed, but Time Warner did not budge. Three weeks later, the Giuliani administration said it would broadcast Fox News on a municipal-run station, citing the benefits of offering diverse news sources and protecting the 600 jobs Fox had created.

But a federal judge blocked his plan, calling it “special advocacy” to “reward a friend and to further a particular viewpoint.” The companies came to terms the next year.

Time Warner executives found the pressure from Mr. Giuliani “extraordinary,” Richard Aurelio, a former head of Time Warner’s city cable operation, said in an interview. “To have politicians getting into the act of making those judgments was, to me, outrageous,” he said. “Never before had any politician ever done anything of that kind.”

This was not Giuliani's only original contribution to media and politics: As U.S. Attorney he invented the "perp walk."

Is there any value in the relationship? Aw, shucks no.

Mr. [Brit] Hume, managing editor of Fox’s Washington coverage, said Mr. Ailes was involved in meetings to discuss stories, but had never done anything to favor any candidate.

I feel better knowing that but—

This year through July 15, Mr. Giuliani appeared for 115 minutes in interviews on Fox.... More than half of those minutes, 78, were spent with Mr. Hannity, co-host of the “Hannity & Colmes” talk show. Mr. Hannity, a conservative who has spoken of his admiration for Mr. Giuliani, makes his own decisions about bookings, a spokeswoman said.

Mr. Giuliani’s on-air time on Fox was 25 percent greater than that of his Republican competitor Mitt Romney, and nearly double that of Senator John McCain of Arizona. Fred D. Thompson, who has yet to formally announce his candidacy, came in second to Mr. Giuliani with 101 minutes of Fox interviews.

And how much might the exposure be worth to Giuliani's campaign?

Roger explained that every time a candidate is given a microphone, he’s getting $100,000 worth of publicity,” Mr. Giuliani wrote in his book.

Well, at least we know which Republican candidate Fox News is supporting.

Related posts
A moment to ponder (9/11/05)
One more reason not to vote for Giuliani: He's gone Neocon (7/20/07)


Thursday, August 02, 2007


Poem of the Day

Since I seem to be constitutionally incapable of completing the post I promised, how about a little antiwar poem in the meantime?


What are you doing there, little girl,
With those flowers freshly cut?
What are you doing there, young maiden,
With those flowers now dried out?
What are you doing there, lovely lady,
With those flowers drooping down?
What are you doing there, old woman,
With those flowers fading away?

I'm waiting for the one who won.

A Simply Appalling translation of—


Que faites-vous là petite fille
Avec ces fleurs fraîchement coupées
Que faites-vous là jeune fille
Avec ces fleurs ces fleurs séchées
Que faites-vous là jolie femme
Avec ces fleurs qui se fanent
Que faites-vous là vieille femme
Avec ces fleurs qui meurent

J'attends le vainqueur.

     —Jacques Prévert, Paroles (1945)


Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Temporizing ...

I've been trying to make sense of the latest revelations concerning the Pat Tillman investigation. It's slow going, but I promise a Simply Appalling post on the matter tomorrow.

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