The Fall of 2002

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The Fall of 2002 must have been a busy time for Tom DeLay. Cruising to victory back home, DeLay was funnelling money to candidates around the country and around the state. He was at once trying to win Republican races through ARMPAC donations and expenditures in tight congressional contests, and to engineer a take-over of the Texas State Legislature. By all accounts, DeLay was successful.

He maintained a working majority in Congress, and did indeed see a triumph of the state GOP in his home state. The latter was the first phase in a scheme to pass a mid-decade redistricting plan, which eventually would net him five additional GOP colleagues in Congress in 2004.

The problem is, both efforts -- national and state -- pushed the envelope as to what is legally permitted, and quite possibly crossed the line.

That's why the subpoenas Ronnie Earle issued yesterday that cover phone records from September 1 to December 31, 2002 are so interesting in the context of yesterday's other news story -- the documents related to the FEC audits which show DeLay's ARMPAC spent $100,000 in corporate soft money to influence five congressional races.

My question is this: Will Earle surface any interesting evidence from DeLay's phone records regarding the use of corporate funds in these five federal races?

Another observation is that Jim Ellis is certainly in very hot water now, as the executive director in 2002 of TRMPAC, and as the then- and now-executive director of ARMPAC... He may be looking at a federal investigation, too...