U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay temporarily resigned his leadership post Wednesday and demanded a quick trial on charges that he conspired to violate election laws barring the use of corporate money in Texas campaigns.
The moves came in response to a Travis County grand jury indicting DeLay and reindicting two associates, John Colyandro of Austin and Jim Ellis of Washington, on state felony charges of criminal conspiracy. Wednesday's indictment said the three agreed to violate state law in 2002 by giving $190,000 of corporate donations to the Republican National Committee, which, in turn, donated the same amount in noncorporate money to seven Texas candidates.
If convicted, DeLay could get two years in jail.
The political fallout from this indictment alone has been huge already. Though the power struggle in Congress between David Dreier, Chair of the House Rules Committee, and Roy Blunt, Majority Whip, appears to have hit a bizarre stalemate (they're going to be, ahem, sharing Delay's job), even Republican pundits are admitting that Delay's woes stand a good chance of wreaking havoc on the Republicans in the approaching midterms (especially considering the fact that a great many congressional repubs are financially linked to the very PACs to which Delay's indictment is linked).
By the way, a diarist on Kos argues that the Hammer is already at work on a plea bargain. Check this out (Nota bene: I can't vouch for the expertise of this guy, or the info he provides without citations, so take this as you will).
Then, on top of this, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is being investigated by the SEC for insider trading. From Bloomberg:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist faces a near-term ordeal unwelcome to anyone, particularly an ambitious politician: an official probe into his personal financial dealings by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The SEC authorized a formal order of investigation of Frist's sale in June of HCA Inc. shares, people with direct knowledge of the inquiry said yesterday.
And for the hat trick, there are rumors of a Karl Rove indictment in October relating to his exposure of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Wait, we're not done yet... and for the Texas Hat Trick (yes, that really is a technical hockey term), Jack Abramoff, who boasts close political ties to Delay and Rove, is connected to a Sopranos-style murder in Florida in 2001. Josh Marshall is working vigorously on this one, and has come up with some telling information on the Delay-Abramoff-Rove web.