Barack Obama should pardon Tom DeLay?
The Washington Post ran an op-ed piece last Friday titled “Why Obama should pardon DeLay.” The piece was written by local attorney Thomas A. Campbell, who ran against DeLay in the 2006 Republican Primary.
Campbell says he opposed DeLay because “DeLay’s ethical conduct had fallen below the standard acceptable for an elected official; that under his leadership, our political debate had become unduly divisive and we needed to return civility to our political discourse; and that under his leadership, our party had become fiscally irresponsible.
“I carefully reviewed DeLay’s background when I ran against him,” Campbell said, “and what I found was a zealot willing to blur the line in pursuit of what he thought to be a good cause, not someone using his office for financial gain. There were no personal slush funds, no house remodeled by a lobbyist, no unreported vacation home. He was only trying to build our party.”
-Well, not for financial gain, huh? How about lust for power? Or a desire to live high on the hog? Jetting across the country and around the world, four-star hotels, fine food and drink, TV appearances, speakers fees, golfing at Saint Andrews and in Saipan, DeLay had it good. Add in a no-show job with a lobbying firm for the wife, and a job for your daughter with your PAC, plus $10 million donated for legal fees when you get in trouble? Sweet.
But the Justice Department and the Ethics Committee found nothing actionable here, and DeLay isn’t the only congressman enjoying such perquisites.
DeLay was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy, but what he did to me was steal my vote. His conspiracy packed the Texas statehouse in order to unseat Democratic congressmen by moving their voters out from behind them. In the last election I had the choice between his successor, Pete Olson, and a nut from Planet LaRouche, and it may be ten more years before District 22 attracts a credible candidate.
Thomas Campbell served under President George H. W. Bush as General Counsel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he helped negotiate a $1 billion damage settlement after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He ought to know that a presidential pardon is no way to clean up oceans of slime.