The Chronicle’s Rick Casey wrote about local attorney Chris Feldman, the man who first turned up the $190,000 money swap between Tom DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority PAC and the Republican National Committee that ended up in DeLay’s conviction for money laundering and conspiracy.
In 2003, Feldman was a young lawyer at the Austin firm of Ivy Crew & Elliot, who represented five Democratic candidates for the State Legislature defeated after the RNC sent their opponents tens of thousands of dollars. It was Feldman who discovered the e-mail from TRMPAC director John Colyandro that sent a blank check to ARMPAC director Jim Ellis; IRS records showing the $190,000 donation to the RNC, and soon after, checks totaling $190,000 sent to Texas statehouse candidates.
Some folks who haven’t been nuts about this story for six or eight years as I have been, don’t see ‘what‘s different from what the Democrats have always done in Texas.’
Well, for starters, under the Democrats, redistricting was done every ten years, after the national census as provided for in the U S Constitution. Secondly, redistricting was done to protect incumbents, whatever their party, so that a Republican like Jack Fields could represent River Oaks for thirty years and rise in seniority to chair the Ways and Means Committee. The Texas Congressional Delegation was even known to vote together for the benefit of the State of Texas. Try to find that now. With DeLay counting votes, if they found that they were getting too many votes from across the aisle, they would re-write the bill to include measures poisonous to Democrats to create another campaign issue to club them with after they voted against it.
The best part of Casey’s column comes at the end : “Feldman was pleased to see DeLay convicted last week, but he was even prouder of something Ellis told the Texas Observer back in 2003 — that TRMPAC was going to be a model for similar operations around the country, until the lawsuit.”
So the Travis County DA and the people of Austin foiled a plot to use corporate money to pack the legislatures in thirty-some states to institute a one-party system rivaling that of the Kremlin. Pretty good piece of work; now if we can overturn Corporate Citizenship and FCC v Citizens United we’ll be getting somewhere.