The editors of National Review weigh in on Ronnie Earle’s indictment of Tom DeLay:
Following the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, conservatives are left wondering what to make of the charges. The answer is simple. The charges are absurd and should be thrown out of court.
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has charged DeLay with conspiracy to make a contribution to a political party in violation of the Texas Election Code. The alleged violation involved a money swap between the now-defunct Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC), which DeLay helped found but never managed, and the Republican National State Elections Committee (RNSEC). TRMPAC sent a check for $190,000 to RNSEC, and RNSEC then sent checks totaling approximately the same amount to Texas House candidates in October of 2002. Earle, a Democrat, calls this money laundering, because the money that TRMPAC sent to RNSEC came from corporations, which are barred from contributing to campaigns in Texas.
Earle is wrong. Before campaign-finance reform, this kind of soft-money for hard-money swap was perfectly legal and happened all the time. In October of 2002, the Texas Democratic party did the same thing when it sent $75,000 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and received $75,000 back from the DNC.
Also, as former Department of Justice official Barbara Comstock noted yesterday,