Charges were dismissed Thursday against California-based Diversified Collection Services, Inc., accused in the campaign finance investigation that has so far resulted in indictments against three associates of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Republican. The company agreed to aid prosecutors in the ongoing investigation.
DCS made a $50,000 contribution to Texans for a Republican Majority, a political action committee with ties to DeLay. The use of corporate money for political purposes is illegal in Texas, except for administrative costs.
According to the agreement, DCS "approved the contribution on the basis of false and misleading information provided by the fundraiser that solicited the contribution."
Jon Shaver, vice president of DCS' board of directors, said the company received a written solicitation suggesting "that this would be an appropriate contribution and we believed that."
Rusty Hardin, an attorney for Washington fundraiser Warren RoBold who is charged in the case, said his client did not mislead DCS while fundraising for the Republican group.
"The irony is that they (District Attorney Ronnie Earle's office) have never met him, talked to him or gotten his side of it," Hardin said. "Luckily this system requires a judge and jury to decide who's committed a crime."
Attorneys also bristled at part of the agreement that states DCS "acknowledges that the basis for the Texas prohibition against corporate contributions is that they constitute a genuine threat to democracy."
Joe Turner, an Austin attorney who represents John Colyandro, the former executive director of the GOP group, called the language in the agreement "totally inappropriate."
"He's coerced these corporations into conceding his view of the law," Turner said of Earle. "It really has a chilling effect on any future contributions by corporations."
Elsewhere, the Chron has a profile of Ronnie Earle. Will these nice stories help to blunt the noise machine? I sure hope so.Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 13, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack