Today, DeLay associates Jim Ellis and Warren RoBold have their first day in court.
Jim Ellis, a key Washington aide who coordinated several efforts in the Texas Legislature promoted by DeLay, and former fund-raiser Warren RoBold are scheduled to appear before 331st District Court Judge Bob Perkins to enter pleas and have their bond set.
They are expected to plead not guilty.
Ellis and John Colyandro were leaders of Texans for a Republican Majority, known by its initials, TRMPAC, which DeLay founded to get more Republicans elected to the Texas Legislature in 2002.
Colyandro, of Austin, already has had his court appearance. He was briefly jailed before entering a not-guilty plea. He was released on a personal recognizance bond.
Ellis and RoBold will be arrested, fingerprinted and likely freed under similar bond, a court source said Friday.
Yesterday, I mentioned my hope that DeLay will be tied to various Republican incumbents and candidates nationwide. Kevin says in the comments that he doesn’t think DeLay is as well known as Newt Gingrich was in 1998. Maybe so, but he’s been getting plenty of national attention lately, and not just in the big papers:
The Allentown Morning Call says DeLay is “incapable of upholding the high standards necessary for House leadership”.
The Virginian Pilot notes DeLay’s “repeated ethical lapses” and suggests that “by continuing to support his leadership, Republicans such as Rep. Randy Forbes of Chesapeake invite questions about how much they value public integrity.”
The Cheboygan Daily Tribune says DeLay should step down from his leadership position and notes that he has “dragged a few Michigan lawmakers into the muck with him”.
The Wilmington Daily Star says “If [DeLay] had any ethics, he would step down. If his colleagues had any ethics, they would dump him.”
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel calls DeLay a “national embarrassment”.
Drip, drip, drip. Will it all make a difference? I don’t know, and Republicans don’t seem to be too worried. DeLay has generally kept a lower profile than Gingrich ever did, and maybe that ultimately will save him this time around. But even if DeLay survives this year, and even if the House conforms to conventional wisdom by remaining in GOP hands, I don’t think the story will be over. I believe that DeLay’s likely to be ongoing troubles will make him the canary in the coal mine for the GOP. It’s just a question of when.