A Texas grand jury’s recent interest in conspiracy charges could lead to last-minute criminal indictments — possibly against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — as it wraps up its investigation Wednesday into DeLay’s state political organization, according to lawyers with knowledge of the case.
Conspiracy counts against two DeLay associates this month raised concerns with DeLay’s lawyers, who fear the chances are greater that the majority leader could be charged with being part of the conspiracy. Before these counts, the investigation was more narrowly focused on the state election code.
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two Democratic Party researchers in Washington illegally obtained the credit report of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele as they conducted opposition research on the likely Republican Senate candidate.
Phil Singer, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, acknowledged yesterday that two of his organization’s employees had resigned as a result of the episode, which he said was subsequently referred to the U.S. attorney’s office by the Democratic committee.
Singer said the two employees acted without the committee’s authorization but later told their superiors, who “immediately ensured that Mr. Steele’s credit report was not used or disseminated to anyone.”
Singer added that the former employees were cooperating with authorities and that the DSCC had launched an internal review of the matter. He said the DSCC is not a target of the federal inquiry.
If I were in Congress, I’d be more worried about the fact that all it took to get this information was a name and a easily accessible Social Security number, maybe even use my power to protect people against nefarious uses of this sort of information. But no, it’s all about trying to make Democrats look bad, even though the DSCC went to the feds as soon as it found out about the possible crime.
In the grand scheme of things, which party looks less tarnished?
No one’s perfect, I hope everyone involved goes to jail, and I hope Congress takes a serious look at protecting the privacy of our data. Meanwhile, I hope Republicans clean up their own house before whining about low level staff at the DSCC’s misdeeds.