Trial begins in civil suit involving DeLay's TRMPAC

Public Campaign Action Fund is now Every Voice. Check out our new website: EveryVoice.org

The New York Times (registration) takes a look at the story behind the story in the civil lawsuit filed by five former Texas state representatives against Tom DeLay's TRMPAC's treasurer:

A civil trial scheduled to open here on Monday involving allegations of illegal campaign contributions to Republican members of the Texas House is likely to attract almost as much attention in the halls of Congress as it will on the floor of the State Legislature.

The reason is the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, the Texas Republican who is among the most powerful men on Capitol Hill and his party's most potent fund-raiser in Congress. While not named as a defendant in the civil trial or placed on the witness list, Mr. DeLay is still likely to find himself a focus of attention in the Travis County courthouse, with Congressional Democrats looking for any sign that his legal troubles back home could be widening.

It won't be just those in Washington who will be watching -- the most important observer will be Ronnie Earle, the Travis County District Attorney, who will look for information useful to the criminal investigation he is leading.

An interesting development on Friday in this case expanded House Speaker Tom Craddick legal exposure. To avoid testifying under oath,

[Craddick] acknowledged through his lawyers that his office had distributed $152,000 in donations raised by the committee to Republican candidates in the months before his election as speaker, and after conceding that he and his staff might have shredded documents about the committee.

Will there be some fireworks to report later, or is everything already out? We'll see... Let us know what else you're reading on this one.