Thursday, May 26, 2005

Round 1 – Justice 1, DeLay 0

From the New York Times:

A Texas judge ruled today against a political action committee tied to Representative Tom DeLay, finding that the group’s treasurer failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in violation of election law.

The decision in a civil lawsuit brought by five defeated Democratic candidates has no direct impact on Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader, who formed the political organization. He was not named as a defendant in the case.

But the ruling marked an important symbolic and legal victory for critics of Mr. DeLay, lending credence to allegations that he and his associates skirted legal constraints to gain the Republican majority in the Texas House in 2002. Three of Mr. DeLay’s closest associates have been indicted in a related criminal case, part of a widening controversy that has engulfed the congressman for months.

Judge Joseph H. Hart, the senior district judge in the civil case, said in a letter to lawyers on both sides that Bill Ceverha, the treasurer of Texans for a Republican Majority, should have reported $532,333 in corporate donations that was spent illegally on campaign activities rather than for administrative purposes.

To quote the immortal Toby Ziegler, “Ginger, get the popcorn!”