January 11, 2011- Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, once considered among the nation's most powerful and feared lawmakers, was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for a scheme to influence elections that already cost him his job, leadership post and millions of dollars in legal fees.
The sentence comes after a jury in November convicted DeLay, a Houston-area Republican, on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering for using a political action committee to illegally send corporate donations to Texas House candidates in 2002.
The section from pages 133 through 197 deals with campaign finance violations such as we have identified in this campaign. We urge legislators, NGOs and prosecutors read this section to see just how many violations groups such as American Crossroads and the Chamber of Commerce have committed during the 2010 election. For example, the Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits foreigners from contributing to federal elections in any capacity, and the Act defines foreigner as including foreign corporations. The Chamber, however, has received hundreds of thousands in contributions from foreign corporations that have been used to target Democrats. Also, the Act prohibits using conduits to circumvent contribution limits yet American Crossroads and the Chamber routinely solicited contributions from individuals and others to get around the contribution limits to the Republican National Committee and candidates, and they used their c(4) and c(6) status to shield those contributors from disclosure.
July 11, 2010: If it's true a little guy still can make a difference, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider has a chance to be a real difference-maker.
Schneider finds himself firmly cast in the little guy's role in a case pending before Michigan's Supreme Court. He wants the court to uphold a lower court's November ruling that allowed him to investigate officials from Meijer Inc. for possible criminal violations of state campaign finance laws in Acme Township between 2005-07.
But his opponents are formidable and include deep-pocketed special interest groups. Retail giant Meijer, for one, is a heavyweight in Michigan's political arena, its influence earned through funding of politicians and public causes.
Schneider also must contend with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Teamsters and Michigan Education Association, groups whose political action committees spent millions over the past decade to support candidates and tilt the state political scale to their causes.
They're backing Meijer's efforts to fend off Schneider in the looming Supreme Court tussle.
"Everyone in the political establishment of both parties is against (Schneider)," said Rich Robinson, executive director of the non-partisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
A federal appeals court says the U.S. Department of Justice does not need a referral from the Federal Election Commission before prosecuting campaign finance violations.
The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit means federal prosecutors can investigate alleged criminal violations of federal campaign finance laws without waiting for the FEC to act.
The opinion is consistent with other rulings in cases where targets of campaign finance prosecutions claimed they should not be subject to criminal charges unless the FEC first considered their cases.
The FEC has authority to bring civil enforcement cases for campaign finance violations and to refer such cases to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. Courts have consistently held - as the Ninth Circuit just did - that Justice officials can still prosecute even if the FEC has not voted on the matter.
"We hold again today ... that the Attorney General need not obtain permission from the FEC before investigating or prosecuting possible violations of federal election law," reads the decision, which was written by U.S. Circuit Judge Barry Silverman and joined by Circuit Judges Richard Clifton and Milan Smith.