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General News    H3'ed 8/17/10

Tom DeLay Whitewash Is Another Black Mark for Obama DOJ

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   3 comments
Message Roger Shuler

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

The Obama administration appeared to take a small step forward on justice issues last week when it announced a settlement with an Alabama victim of a Bush-era political prosecution.
But the administration has taken two giant steps backward with reports yesterday that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX)will not face federal charges in the Jack Abramoff scandal.
In the Alabama case, Huntsville defense contractor Alex Latifi will receive $290,000 in restitution for a botched prosecution brought by Alice Martin, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. The Obama DOJ seems to have mixed motives in the Latifi case. On one hand, the victim is receiving some measure of justice. But the settlement has the effect of covering up wrongdoing by Bush officials.
In the DeLay case, the administration's motives don't appear to be mixed. It simply wants to provide cover for Bush-era misconduct--even in the Abramoff case, which has been called the worst political scandal in modern American history. Reports The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. DeLay was targeted in the Democrats' 2006 "culture of corruption" campaign that helped sweep Republicans from power. Federal investigators looked at Mr. DeLay's ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who served four years in prison on charges of defrauding Indian tribes and using trips and other gifts to reward political favors. Two of Mr. DeLay's aides pleaded guilty to charges related to the Abramoff probe, and authorities investigated allegations that Mr. DeLay took trips, gifts and other donations in exchange for helping Abramoff clients.

If DeLay will not be prosecuted in the Abramoff case, it seems safe to say that all Bush-era scoundrels are safe under the Obama DOJ. The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)finds that prospect appalling. Reports TPM Muckraker:

"It's a sad day for America when one of the most corrupt members to ever walk the halls of Congress gets a free pass," Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement.

"As we continue the work of building a Washington that is worthy of the American people, the Justice Department's decision not to prosecute Mr. DeLay for his actions sends exactly the wrong message to current and future members," Sloan said.

"The fact that Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney (R-OH) are the only two people who went to prison for one of the worst corruption scandals in congressional history is shocking," Sloan said.

"The Hammer belongs in the slammer. Mr. DeLay still has crimes to answer for in Texas --generally not considered the best place to be a criminal defendant."

Indeed, DeLay is not out of the criminal woods. Reports The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. DeLay remains in trouble over a separate matter in Texas state court, where he has been charged with failing to report certain political donations. Mr. DeLay says he committed no wrongdoing in the state case, for which a trial is set to begin as soon as next week, and in a conference call with reporters criticized what he called the "criminalization of politics."

But in the "look forward, not backward" world of the Obama DOJ, Tom DeLay has nothing to worry about. And that probably goes for other Bush-era scoundrels, as well.

More "change we can believe in."
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Roger Shuler Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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