Did one of DeLay’s co-conspirators just finger him?

One of the firms that financed the Republican takeover of the Texas Legislature by making an illegal contribution to one of Tom DeLay’s PACs just collected a big political payoff. It then made a plea deal in the investigation of that PAC.

One of the firms that apparently gave illegal help to Tom DeLay in his successful effort to reapportion Texas between censuses (which in turn allowed the GOP to steal four House seats) is a collection agency that hopes to profit from being hired by the IRS to collect delinquent taxes on a percentage-of-the-take basis. (Not quite tax-farming, but pretty close.) Now it seems that a legislative provision that would have forbidden that practice mysteriously disappeared from the big budget bill.

(That’s the bill that also included the tax-form-snooping provision.)

Well, it would be captious to complain. After all, rank hath its privileges. It wouldn’t really be worth the effort of being the most powerful man in the House of Representatives if you couldn’t use the legislative process to do favors for firms whose employees might otherwise be able to testify about crimes you might have committed, now would it?

However, it doesn’t always work. The firm in question, Diversified Collection services, has just reached a plea deal with District Attorney Ronnie Earle, under which the firm won’t be prosecuted at all for making the illegal contributions in return for its testimony against any defendants in the case.

Would Earle’s office really have given Diversified a complete pass for anything less than the testimony that would nail DeLay? Maybe. But if I were DeLay, I’d be a just a little bit nervous right now.

The Stakeholder has been DeLay Central. Watch that space.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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