Tom Delay, after being indicted by a Texas grand jury based on evidence presented by Travis county District Attorney Ronnie Earle, called Earle, who is a Democrat, a 'partisan zealot' and suggested that the charges were politically motivated. Well, were they?
Just ask Jim Mattox if he thinks so. In 1983, Mattox, a Democrat, was the Attorney General of the State of Texas, and was expected to run for Governor of that state.
That year, the district attorney in Austin, Ronnie Earle, indicted Mattox on bribery charges. He was acquitted, but the damage was done. Mattox had spent $300,000 on attorneys. His political career began to peter out.
Fred Lewis, director of Campaigns for People, an Austin group that works to reduce the influence of money on government, called the politics-as-usual defense the "standard response" here to an Earle indictment.
"Every single person he has indicted, Democrat or Republican, has claimed politics," Lewis said. "That's what people don't understand. I think Ronnie Earle has just done his job. The people that are criticizing the indictments don't know one thing about Texas law or the facts. And frankly, they need to be quiet and let the criminal justice process work."
In fact, of the fifteen politicians that Earle has indicted since he began his career, twelve have been Democrats!!
Of course DeLay, the quintessential attack dog, who blew up some minor questions about Bill Clinton's earlier infidelities into national scandals, will call it a partisan indictment. What else can he do? Say, 'yeah, I did it, they got me, I resign.'?
Like that will happen.
You can call Ronnie Earle a lot of things, but the facts just don't support that 'partisan' is one of them.