We know that Sears and Diversified Collections Services have cut deals with the Travis County DA's office to get the charges related to TRMPAC dropped in return for cooperation on the case. Now we see that progress is being made with the other six indicted corporations.
According to documents filed in Travis County District Court, two companies accused of making illegal political contributions have "flipped" for prosecutors in the past month, signing deals requiring them to cooperate in exchange for dismissal of their cases.
The agreements were signed with Illinois-based Sears, Roebuck and Co. and DCS Inc., a debt-payment company based in California, and say the contributions were given "on the basis of false and misleading information provided by the fund-raiser that solicited the contribution."
Sources close to the investigation said this week that similar deals were being negotiated with some of the remaining six companies indicted late last year: the Williams Companies Inc., Bacardi USA, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, Questerra Corp. and Westar Energy Inc.
The companies that could be reached declined to comment, as did Gregg Cox, director of the Travis County district attorney's public integrity unit and a leader of the investigation.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said information gleaned from the companies could be used as leverage to pressure remaining defendants and, potentially, to target more powerful members of the Republican Party in Texas and in Washington.