Ronnie Earle’s DeLay Subpoenas Thrown Out
Ronnie Earle, the Travis County prosecutor in Texas who indicted Tom DeLay on money laundering charges, has been engaged in a litigation war with DeLay’s attorneys ever since that indictment. Yesterday, DeLay’s side won one battle when an appeals court ruled that Earle should have stopped issuing subpoenas back in December – the case was halted then in order to hear an appeal on one of the disputed charges against DeLay.
So all those subpoenas issued over the past few months – to DeLay’s various and sundry associates, to associates of crooked defense contractor Brent Wilkes – are null and void. This doesn’t mean that Earle can’t go back and subpoena these people later after the appeals process is sorted out, but it does mean that there will be no more news from his investigation until March 22nd, when the appeals court will hear arguments on that disputed charge against DeLay. (Houston Chronicle, AP)
Katherine Harris Speculation Update
No one knows quite what her major announcement this week will be – whether she’ll drop out of the race for Senate or not, but here’s a fresh suggestion that seems to be credible. From the Times:
“Some Republicans speculated Monday that Ms. Harris would announce not that she was dropping out but that she was resigning from the House to devote all her time to the Senate race.”
From Roll Call:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has unveiled a proposal to limit donations to 527 organizations [like MoveOn.org] to $25,000 per person each year, or $50,000 each election cycle, that if enacted could be a huge blow to the groups’ hopes of being a force in the 2006 elections. Those groups raised and spent more than $500 million in the previous cycle, with many of the organizations relying on multimillion-dollar donations from wealthy individuals to fund their activities.
Bob Ney – Dead Man Running
A couple more, apparently minor candidates have entered the race with Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), who is running despite his almost certain eventual indictment on bribery charges in the Abramoff investigation. For his part, Ney’s strategy so far seems like it’s to avoid appearing at all with the other candidates. (Athens News)
Last year, just as the Abramoff scandal was finally getting legs, Ralph Reed, whose dalliances with Abramoff were just coming to light, decided to run for Lt. Governor of Georgia. There have long been predictions that Reed could not run from his past. The Stakeholder argues that Reed is finally the disaster for the Georgia Republican Party that everyone thought he would be. (The Stakeholder)
Rhode Island Senate Nominee Attempts to Explain Away Campaign Finance Sketchiness
Matt Brown, now Secretary of State in Rhode Island, is a Democrat running for the Senate there and has been having trouble because it was reported that his campaign had funneled donations through out of state Dem parties. He said yesterday that “he personally asked supporters to give money to three state Democratic parties that contributed to his Senate campaign, but he never made a deal to illegally funnel donations to his campaign.” Not an entirely satisfactory explanation, I would say. (AP)
Request for Ohio Coingate Info Denied
“A company hired to examine the state’s unorthodox $50 million investment in rare coins doesn’t have to make its files public because state law exempts work done by private businesses for the state.” (AP)
IRS to Target Major D.C. Ethics Watchdog?
The Hill newspaper speculates on whether the IRS, as part of its efforts to prevent the political abuse of non-profit status, will go after the Washington, D.C.-based good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has filed numerous complaints against Republicans in Congress. (The Hill)
Los Angeles Creates Donor Deputy Brigade?
Southern California law enforcement are handing out badges and identity cards to donors to campaigns for sheriff’ and district attorney — in possible violation of the law:
Although the badges issued by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office are not identical to those used by sworn officers, they bear similar stars or other symbols and official department names. It is a misdemeanor in California to distribute badges to the public that are likely to be confused with real law enforcement badges.
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman Killed a State Department nomination as a favor to Jack Abramoff…(link)
Is the CIA investigation into crooked defense contractor Brent Wilkes too narrow?…(link)
For the second time in two months, one of the prosecutors central to the Abramoff investigation has been promoted out of his job…(link)
The “Evil Twin” theory in the Claude Allen case…(TPM)
Why is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) going suddenly soft on Abramoff’s longtime associate and Republican uber-strategist Grover Norquist? Does it have something to with 2008?…(link)
Tom DeLay might have another campaign finance indiscretion to deal with…(link)