It's hard to imagine how DeLay could function without at least coming very close to breaking the law. His indictment is an indictment of the whole way the Republican Party operates. The central theme of DeLay's tenure has been to break down barriers to greater corporate influence in American politics.
Some of these barriers are mere social norms. It once was considered completely beyond the pale to, say, threaten political retribution against corporations that give donations and lobbying jobs to the other party. DeLay and his "K Street Project" made this a regular practice.
Some of these barriers are formal rules that lack the force of law. The House of Representatives forbids its members from accepting trips from lobbyists. DeLay regularly accepted such trips, financed through transparent front groups.
And some of these barriers are actual laws. Texas law forbids the use of corporate money in elections. DeLay allegedly masterminded a scheme whereby corporations would donate money earmarked for Texas races to the Republican National Committee, which would then pour the money into the Texas races.
The central vision of DeLayism is of a political system whereby business gains almost total control over the Republican agenda, and in return the GOP gains unlimited financial influence over the electoral process.
Friday, September 30, 2005
According to LA Times (registration) columnist Jonathan Chait, the sleaze is inherent in Tom Delay's job: