Tuesday, November 23, 2004

No Limit

Rep. Tom DeLay may be in for more than he bargained when he took on Ronnie Earle, the District Attorney for Travis County, Texas.

Mr. Earle is investigating shady political funding in Texas. This was the reason cited by Mr. DeLay and his allies in the House of Representatives as the rationale behind the House rules change last week that would allow Mr. DeLay to keep his post as Majority Leader even if he was indicted, and Mr. DeLay wasted no time ripping into Mr. Earle for his “witch hunt.” In a New York Times Op-Ed column today, Mr. Earle responds to these attacks.

The thinly veiled personal attacks on me by Mr. DeLay’s supporters in this case are no different from those in the cases of any of the 15 elected officials this office has prosecuted in my 27-year tenure. Most of these officials – 12 Democrats and three Republicans – have accused me of having political motives. What else are they going to say?

For most of my tenure the Democrats held the power in state government. Now Republicans do. Most crimes by elected officials involve the abuse of power; you have to have power before you can abuse it.

There is no limit to what you can do if you have the power to change the rules. Congress may make its own rules, but the public makes the rule of law, and depends for its peace on the enforcement of the law. Hypocrisy at the highest levels of government is toxic to the moral fiber that holds our communities together.

The open contempt for moral values by our elected officials has a corrosive effect. It is a sad day for law enforcement when Congress offers such poor leadership on moral values and ethical behavior. We are a moral people, and the first lesson of democracy is not to hold the public in contempt.

I think he pretty much nails it; so much for the “moral values” of Mr. DeLay.