Monday, October 17, 2005
This would be funny, if it weren't so sad: Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle has revealed that he doesn't have the smoking gun list of candidates and money amounts that are at the heart of his indictment of Republican Tom DeLay.
Travis County prosecutors admitted Friday they lack physical proof of a list of Republican candidates that is at the heart of money-laundering indictments against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay and two of his associates.
The list is key to prosecutors being able to prove that corporate money that could not be legally spent on Texas candidates was specifically exchanged at the national level for donations that legally could be spent on Republican candidates for the Texas House.
Indictments against DeLay, Jim Ellis and John Colyandro state that Ellis gave "a document that contained the names of several candidates for the Texas House" to a Republican National Committee official in 2002 in a scheme to swap $190,000 in restricted corporate money for the same amount of money from individuals that could be legally used by Texas candidates.
But prosecutors said Friday in court that they only had a "similar" list and not the one allegedly received by then-RNC Deputy Director Terry Nelson. Late in the day, they released a list of 17 Republican candidates, but only seven are alleged to have received money in the scheme.
Earle makes the Keystone Kops look like CSI:Texas.