Byron York tries to paint Mr. Earle as a prosecutor who abuses his business to shake down companies such as Sears:
A grand jury in Travis County, Texas, last September indicted eight corporations in connection with the DeLay investigation. All were charged with making illegal contributions (Texas law forbids corporate giving to political campaigns). Since then, however, Earle has agreed to dismiss charges against four of the companies – retail giant Sears, the restaurant chain Cracker Barrel, the Internet company Questerra, and the collection company Diversified Collection Services – after the companies pledged to contribute to a program designed to publicize Earle’s belief that corporate involvement in politics is harmful to American democracy … allies of DeLay, who has accused Earle of conducting a politically motivated investigation, called Earle’s actions “dollars for dismissals.”
But here is the account from Texans for Public Justice:
In its agreement with Earle, Sears promised to cooperate in the “prosecution and investigation of any other person for any offense related to the corporate contribution made by the defendant.” The company also agreed that it will not make any illegal political contributions in any state and that it will disclose corporate contributions on its Web site.
But so far I haven’t seen any of them, or DeLay himself, specify exactly what DeLay is supposed to be innocent of. The logical possibilities are:
1. DeLay is guilty as charged and the prosecutor can prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
2. The alleged transactions never took place.
(a) The corporations made no such contributions to TRMPAC; or
(b) TRMPAC never made the contribution to the Republican National State Elections Committee; or
(c) The RNSEC never made the corresponding contributions to the legislative candidates.
3. The transactions took place, but didn’t violate any law; Texas law allows otherwise illegal contributions to be laundered through Washington.
4. The transactions took place, but were merely coincidental: it just happened that the companies gave to TRMPAC, TRMPAC gave to the RNSEC, and the RNSEC just happened to make precisely equivalent contributions to the legislative candidates.
5. TRMPAC orchestrated a violation of the law, but DeLay had no knowledge of that fact.
6. TRMPAC orchestrated a violation of the law, and DeLay knew of the facts but not of their illegality, and therefore didn’t “conspire.”
7. It’s all true, but the prosecutor can’t prove one or more of the elements beyond reasonable doubt.
Mark pulls the rug out of possibilities two through four.
Update: Talkleft notes the GOP Texas mafia has smeared Mr. Earle before. Since Judith Miller is finally testifying, the slime and defend machine will soon turn on Mr. Fitzgerald.