Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was indicted Wednesday by a Texas grand jury on charges of conspiracay to violate campaign finance laws, and Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is under investigation for insider trading.
DeLay, 58, was indicted on a single felony count of conspiring with two political associates. The two previously had been charged with the same conspiracy count. They are John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay’s national political committee.
The indictment stems from a plan DeLay helped set in motion in 2001 to help Republicans win control of the Texas House in the 2002 elections for the first time since Reconstruction.
The grand jury accused the men of conspiring to route corporate donations from DeLay’s Texas committee to the Republican Party in Washington, then returning the money back to Texas legislative candidates. It was a scheme intended to evade a state law outlawing corporate donations going to candidates, the indictment said.
The indictment also mentioned another Republican figure, President Bush’s campaign political director Terry Nelson, though it did not charge him with any wrongdoing.
The grand jury alleged Nelson received the money — along with a list of Texas lawmakers who were to get donations — from the Texas committee while working at the Republican National Committee. Nelson did not return calls to his office seeking comment.
DeLay and others conspired to “engage in conduct that would constitute the offense of knowingly making a political contribution in violation” of Texas law, the indictment charged. — Associated Press
Replacing him as House majority leader is Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), though originally it was expected that Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) would take up the post. That didn’t happen, apparently because Dreier is gay. Now Blunt is linked to indicted co-conspirator Jim Ellis, whose consulting firm analyzes House campaigns for Blunt.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Frist is being accused of insider trading for divesting himself of Hospital Corporation of America stock just before the company announced its second quarter earnings were less than expected, resulting in a drop in the stock price. Frist claims he sold the stock to eliminate a potential conflict of interest, as his father is one of the company’s founders and his brother one of the company’s board of directors.
Oh, happy day! The corrupt Congressmen are going down. Not fast enough, though–