Thursday, March 19, 2009

Laundering Money Is Legal If Done by Check in Texas

An Editorial in the Austin American Statesman cites a recent Texas Court of Appeals decision that if you live in Travis County Texas laundering money is legal if done by check. Of course, it took three Republican judges, cited below, to come up with such a ruling. And it might come as a surprise to no one, that one of the defendants was formerly United States Representative Tom DeLay. Once again, justice is being mugged, this time apparently along party lines. The three Republican justices were careful to limit their finding to the law as it stood in 2002. That's a relief. One wouldn't want to think that was permanently legal to illegally launder money in Texas.

"The 3rd Court of Appeals, split 3-2 along partisan lines, has refused to reconsider its ruling last year that, at least until 2005, it was OK to take otherwise illegal corporate campaign contributions as long as the money came in the form of a check, not cash. The court thus reaffirmed a decision tainted by politics.

The case involves defendants with Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee, which worked to raise money and support to elect a Republican majority to the Texas House in 2002. They were successful.

Last year, the 3rd Court's Justice Alan Waldrop, joined by then-Chief Justice Ken Law and Justice Robert Pemberton, upheld the law. But, they added, under the law as it stood in 2002, it was not illegal to launder campaign money if it were in the form of a check. And the $190,000 in campaign donations in question was handled by check."

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