A news tidbit not to miss.

Tom DeLay, formerly R-Texas, the former House majority leader who helped build and control the Republican majority for years, was sentenced to 3 years in prison for money laundering, in what was essentially a political malfeasance case. (It had to do with illegally funneling corporate contributions into campaigns)

Two things are important to remember about this story.

First, it’s not a small deal. The former House majority leader is going to prison for crimes directly related to the way he operated his office. While the story might be somewhat buried at the moment because of our recent spasm of political violence, it’s something which belongs on the front pages.

Second, what’s very interesting in this case is that DeLay’s defense essentially said that this was a political witch-hunt, charging him criminally for doing what “everyone was doing.”

There are a lot of things worth parsing in this defense. First of all, I’m fairly certain that everyone was not, in fact, doing it. If they were, then we have a much more serious problem on our hands, of the complete failure of the rule of law; and if everyone in the House was doing that while he was majority leader, it suggests a much deeper malfeasance.

But also, note the implication: it admits that there was a widespread (among whom?) perception that corruption was widespread and acceptable, and that this was a normal and legitimate way of running the government. Remember, this is what one of the operational leaders of the party was saying — it’s not some random guy in the street. If the leaders feel this way, then the members will follow. And you get the party you pay for.

(Of course, this is from the same party whose chairman got caught spending a couple thousand of the party’s money at strip clubs, ostensibly to woo donors.)

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Published in: on January 10, 2011 at 15:25  Comments Off on A news tidbit not to miss.  
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