This is a huge development, folks, with the potential to get even bigger. A brief run-down of who was indicted:
John Colyandro is the executive director of TRM-PAC (Texans for a Republican Majority Politcal Action Committee). He was indicted for money laudering and accepting illegal corprate contributions. The money laundering charges could result in a life sentence while the other charges could get him up to ten years in the pen. If those sentences aren’t an inducement to squeal on DeLay, I’m not obsessed with the gaggle. Colyandro worked for Karl Rove in the 1980s and was later a campaign manager for White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s mom, Texas Comprtoller Carole Keaton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn (how ’bout them family values?). He raised cash for current Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick (more on Craddick below).
Jim Ellis was also indicted for money laundering. A DeLay intimate, he is currently the head of the Bugman’s national PAC, Americans for a Republican Majority. Ellis was deeply involved in the illegal redistricting of Texas’ congressional districts last year.
Warren Robold was indicted for making and accepting illegal corporate donations. Robold is DeLay’s top Washington corporate fundraiser, working for both the Texas and National PACs established by the Bugman. He also happens to share an office with DeLay’s former chief of staff, Ed Buckman.
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who brought the indictments, says that his investigation is continuing and there may be more indictments to come. With that in mind, what may the future hold for…
Tom Delay – he was deeply involved in TRM-PAC’s illegal corporate fundraising, from overseeing the general strategy to headlining events at which the illegal checks were delivered.
Tom Craddick – the Texas Speaker of the House was not indicted, however he has admitted to accepting a $100,000 corporate check on behalf of TRM-PAC. John Colyandro was indicted for accepting that very same check. Rumor has it that moderate republicans in the Texas Capital are searching for a new speaker.
The Republican National Committee – the money laundering charges stem from TRM-PAC’s efforts to avoid the law. Corporate checks were bundled together and transferred to the Republican Party, who then cut checks for TRM-PAC for the exact same amount as the corporate donations. Both Ellis and Colyandro were indicted for this practice, but someone at the national level will have to take the fall as well.
Here’s DeLay defending the money laundering yesterday:
The indictment of DeLay political aide Jim Ellis hits closest to DeLay. DeLay denied that Ellis laundered $190,000 in corporate funds through the Republican National Committee. He described it as “taking soft money,” which is unregulated, “and giving it to the party and the party giving money to candidates in hard money,” which is regulated.
More on the eight corporations that were indicted in a later post. Here’s a preview: one of the eight was Westar Energy, Inc.