Tuesday, September 21


Just posted on the Dallas Morning News web site: "Several linked to DeLay PAC indicted."

A Travis County grand jury indicted three people and eight corporations Tuesday on charges related to alleged illegal donations made to a political action committee formed by Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

James Ellis, who heads Americans for a Republican Majority, DeLay's national fund-raising committee that helped establish Texans for a Republican Majority, was charged with money laundering, a first-degree felony.

John Colyandro, former executive director of Texans for a Republican Majority, and Warren RoBold, a Washington, D.C., fund-raiser who helped raise money for DeLay's PACs, were charged with unlawful acceptance of corporate political contributions. DeLay was not charged.

The eight companies charged with making illegal political contributions were: Sears, Roebuck and Co., Elmhurst, Ill.; the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain, Lebanon, Tenn.; the Williams Companies convenience store chain, Tulsa, Okla.; Bacardi USA, Inc., Miami; Questerra Corp., Richmond, Va.; Diversified Collection Services, Inc., Union City, Calif.; Alliance for Quality Nursing Homes, Inc., Boston; and Westar Energy, Inc., Topeka, Kan.

Each company donated at least $20,000. Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care donated $100,000.

Those involved with Texans for a Republican Majority did not believe they were doing anything wrong, said Steve Brittain, an attorney for DeLay.

"All of these people felt very comfortable that they were not violating the law, that they were following the rules as they understood them," Brittain said.

Colyandro and Ellis did not immediately return telephone calls Tuesday from The Associated Press. The AP could not immediately locate Robold.

The grand jury has been examining whether Texans for a Republican Majority and the Texas Association of Business illegally funneled $2.5 million in corporate contributions to Republican state House candidates in the 2002 election.

Texas law prohibits the use of corporate money by associations or PACs to pay for any direct political activity.

The grand jury investigation began in January 2003, shortly after Republicans gained a majority in the Texas House for the first time since Reconstruction. That set the stage for the GOP to redraw congressional voting districts last year in favor of Republican candidates in the 2004 elections.

DeLay was not questioned or subpoenaed as part of the grand jury investigation.

This does NOT mean Tom DeLay is out of the woods. You'd have to know Ronnie Earle, Travis County DA, to understand that. Ronnie can be a bulldog when he thinks he's got hold of something. I'm especially suspicious of that last paragraph about DeLay not being questioned or subpoenaed. This would make no sense to me whatsoever since it's DeLay's PAC being investigated except that I know Ronnie Earle. There must be method to his madness.


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