Explain this To Me, Please

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Explain this To Me, Please

Quixotically, new indictments have been handed down for two of DeLay's Texas political organizations, but not any actual people.
The Texas Association of Business and Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee have been indicted on charges of illegally using corporate money to help Republicans win control of the Texas Legislature in 2002.

The indictments, released publicly this morning, include 128 counts against the business group and two against the political action committee, which was created by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

The Travis County grand jury that issued the indictments, however, took no action against the Texas Association of Business' president, Bill Hammond, or any other officials with the group today.

A rare meeting among Hammond, his lawyer Roy Minton and Travis County prosecutors Wednesday might have made a difference.

If convicted, the state's largest business group faces the threat of fines — up to $20,000 for each count. But the indictments also complicate the group's defense against civil lawsuits filed by losing Democratic candidates. Damages in those suits could be double the $1.7 million that the association spent on 4 million mailers to voters in 2002.

The four indictments against the business group — two of which were issued last month and then sealed — break down the counts by different actions the group took. They include:

n 14 counts of prohibited political contributions by a corporation (TAB) for paying Hammond and staffer Jack Campbell to do political work.

•28 additional counts of prohibited political contributions by a corporation for launching ad campaigns, among other things.

•83 additional counts of prohibited political contributions by a corporations for paying for political ads, among other things.

•Three counts of prohibited political expenditures by a corporation for spending money in connection with 23 legislative campaigns.

All the counts are third-degree felonies.

TRMPAC, in the lone indictment against it, is is charged with two counts of illegally accepting corporate donations, including $100,000 from the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care.
Am I missing something? How can a PAC or an org be indicted? Or can we expect that actual people will be named responsible at a later time? If not, that's truly lame. PACs don't break the law, people do.

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