Texas GOP Promises To Stop Committing Crimes

News & Politics

The Texas Republican Party struck what might be the sweetest deal in criminal justice since Al Capone went to jail for income tax evasion:

The Republican Party of Texas avoided prosecution Thursday by agreeing to stop using corporate money in several ways being investigated by Travis County Attorney David Escamilla.

Escamilla's investigation, which is similar to allegations being pursued by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay and the Texas Association of Business, is put on hold through March 31, 2007. In return, the Republican Party agrees to stop using corporate money the way it did during the 2002 election. The party's administrative expenses spiked five-fold to about $5.6 million that year.

State law generally prohibits corporate money being spent in connection with campaigns. The law allows political parities to spend corporate money to run their conventions and on administrative overhead. Escamilla had studied some 27,000 GOP documents, but his investigation in the end focused on three instances of using corporate money. [Austin American Statesman]
Here's how this works: If the Republicans promise to stop breaking the laws they broke in 2002, the County Attorney** won't prosecute them for the 2002 infractions until after the 2006 elections.

**Correction: Earlier I incorrectly described Escamilla, the County Attorney as a DA. Just to clarify, the actual DA of Travis County had nothing to do with this deal.

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