DeLay's plan for Ronnie Earle

Is Tom DeLay looking to do in the prosecutor who indicted him?


Farhad Manjoo
April 4, 2006 8:58PM (UTC)

Just because Tom DeLay's not going to be in Congress doesn't mean he isn't going to be thinking of new ways to elide the democratic process. In fact, DeLay has already cooked up a plan to get back at Ronnie Earle, the Texas prosecutor who indicted DeLay last year on money-laundering and conspiracy charges. According to Think Progress, in an interview with Tony Snow on Fox News radio this morning, DeLay said that the Texas Legislature should usurp Earle's power. Indeed, he indicated that such a move was likely.

"Okay, so at this point, you know -- are you willing to let bygones be bygones?" Snow asked DeLay, according to TP's transcript.

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"Absolutely not," the Hammer said. "Texas should not allow a district attorney from Travis County [to] have this kind of power. And they can take his power away from him because there was the Texas legislature that gave him this power. And I think that will happen in the next session of the Texas legislature."

"Oh really?" Snow asked.

"Yes."

It's not clear what exactly DeLay is suggesting Texas lawmakers may do. Is the Legislature looking into ways to prevent county district attorneys from impaneling grand juries in order to indict people who may have broken the law? That, of course, is exactly what D.A.s do, and it's all that Earle has done to DeLay.

Note, too, that Earle was elected to his post by the people of Travis County, not the Texas Legislature. The Legislature didn't give Earle any special powers to go after DeLay. It has only given prosecutors, as a general matter, the authority to go after people who may have broken the law. And perhaps that's what bothers DeLay -- if there are folks out there looking to do in lawbreakers, that may just be too much for Tom DeLay to take.


Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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