Wednesday, January 12, 2005

2 firms cut deals in Delay probe

This just might get interesting:

Prosecutors investigating whether corporations illegally financed the Republican Party's rise to dominance in Texas are negotiating agreements with several companies accused of making improper political donations, and analysts say the discussions could help elicit important leads in the probe.

According to documents filed in Travis County District Court, two companies accused of making illegal political contributions have "flipped" for prosecutors in the past month, signing deals requiring them to cooperate in exchange for dismissal of their cases.

The agreements were signed with Illinois-based Sears, Roebuck and Co. and DCS Inc., a debt-payment company based in California, and say the contributions were given "on the basis of false and misleading information provided by the fund-raiser that solicited the contribution."
Texas law bans corporate contributions to state legislative candidates. Prosecutors say political organizations used corporate money to bankroll the campaigns of 22 Republican candidates for the state House of Representatives in 2002.

Late last year, three of DeLay's aides were indicted and charged with money laundering and unlawfully accepting and soliciting corporate contributions.

At the time, some campaign finance reformers argued that the indictments pointed to a conspiracy to cement Republican control of Congress.

In 2003, the Republican-controlled Legislature, at DeLay's behest, drew new maps of congressional districts. In last fall's election, Republicans gained six seats in the Texas congressional delegation.

I guess prosecutors in Texas are more expensive than Delay expected. The maneuvering to succeed him as House Commandant will likely begin soon.


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