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October 04, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-04

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 4, 2005


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Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


4 I like
- Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a written
statement following President Bush's nomination
of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, as
reported yesterday by the Los Angeles Times.





Why DeLay will get off

can't help but worry
that last week's indict-
ment of U.S. Rep.
Tom DeLay (R-Texas),
his subsequent (and tem-
porary) surrender of power
as House Majority Leader
and the general surge of
excitement that flushed
through the ranks of the
Democratic Party may all
amount to the largest letdown the party has swal-
lowed since Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) tried to
windsurf. I only say this because when removed
from its broader political context, the criminal
case against Tom DeLay is, quite literally, without
a foundation.
I'd warn the Democrats, but they're busy
running victory laps. The party's public rela-
tions machine pounced on the news, billing
the indictment as the latest in a string of scan-
dals slowly eating away at the integrity of the
Republican Party. To hear a Democratic opera-
tive tell it, DeLay's will be the political tumble
that exposes the "culture of corruption" that's
governed our ruling party for decades, the col-
lision that derails President Bush's domestic
agenda, the scandal that rockets Democrats
into the midterm elections. "Their party has run
out of both legitimacy and intellectual steam,"
Democratic Congressional Campaign Commit-
tee Chairman and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.)
told The New York Times.
By burning him in political effigy - painting
him as a walking, breathing illustration of the
Republican Party's ethical impurity - Demo-
crats are building a bombshell around the deposed
majority leader, making the fallout from a poten-
tial acquittal that much more damaging. By rais-
ing the stakes, Democrats allow the outcome of

a weak-willed legal attack to vindicate not only
DeLay, but also the special interest-riddled fund-
raising template he's adopted for his party.
DeLay and two of his associates were indicted
by a Texas grand jury last week for conspiracy in
an illicit campaign finance scheme, charged with
funneling illegal contributions toward the cam-
paigns of a handful of Texas legislative candidates.
According to the prosecution, DeLay's political
action committee, Texans for a Republican Major-
ity, upon receiving $155,000 worth of corporate
contributions, sent a similar sum of money to the
Republican National States Election Committee.
The RNSEC then dispersed yet another similar
sum amongst a roster of Republican lawmakers
seeking office in the state legislature. Texas elec-
tion code prohibits corporations from using soft
money to finance state political campaigns. Aus-
tin-area district attorney Ronnie Earl, who is lead-
ing the investigation, claims DeLay conspired to
circumvent those statutes in order to manufacture
a Republican majority in the Texas legislature.
The prosecution claims - correctly, I may add
- that DeLay pressured the newly composed
legislature into redrawing federal congressional
districts to favor Republican candidates. The
redistricting proved more lucrative than even
DeLay had anticipated, supplementing an already
tremendous House majority with five fresh Texas
Republicans - all, I should add, deeply indebted
to the former majority leader. If I didn't have a
conscience, I'd applaud the guy for his artfulness;
this was, afterall, the closest thing to a coup this
country has seen in recent memory.
A truly seasoned double-dealer, DeLay's savvy
has made investigating him a hellish process. Put
simply, at no point during his elaborate filter-
ing scheme did the majority leader do anything
remotely illegal. Follow the money trail yourself:
A cluster of corporations make a lawful contri-

bution to DeLay's political action committee.
The PAC, again in perfectly permissible fashion,
passes a similar figure along to a Republican
fundraising organization that proceeds - with
proper authority - to dole out above-board,
"hard money" donations to individual candidates.
By the time the money reached a campaign coffer
it was no longer a soft, corporate contribution, it
had taken the form of a new and perfectly legal
medium. Money, as Ronnie Earl will soon learn,
is fungible - once it enters a bank account it
becomes exchangeable, its history erased. That of
course isn't the case when there exists evidence
that it was once used toward an illicit end, say, for
trafficking drugs. But what distinguishes a well-
crafted campaign finance scheme from the illegal
laundering of money - what DeLay has most
recently been indicted for - is that by definition,
the latter must spin off of a prior crime.
Here's where the conspiracy charge comes
in. Unable to point to a broken law or breached
regulation, Earl rests his case on DeLay's inten-
tions. But again, DeLay's intent was to channel
the money legally. That may make him sleazy, but
under the current campaign finance statutes, he's
no criminal. At best, Earl can document DeLay's
intention to sidestep the law, not violate it.
The DeLay prosecution, if read correctly, is
more an indictment of our political fundraising
system than it is of the former majority leader. By
focusing on the player in lieu of the game, Earl
is falling into the same, self-defeating trap as his
Democratic counterparts in Congress. The prob-
lem is not that through a complex web of prox-
ies a notable politician was able to buy himself a
stronger majority in Congress; the problem is that
he was able to do it legally.

Singer can be reached at


On hate crimes: an open
letter to the University
In response to recent media reports of a harass-
ment incident between members of our student
community as well as the many unreported or
unpublicized hate incidents that occur on our
campus, we, the undersigned, feel it necessary to
reiterate and renew our ongoing commitment to
diversity, tolerance and justice.
As members of an academic community com-
mitted to the pursuit of knowledge and truth, our
diversity is what makes us strong. Thus, the space
we share must be safe and accommodating for
everyone. An injury to one community member
because of race, ethnicity, gender or gender iden-
tity, sexual orientation, religious or political belief,
nationality, or any other factor of his or her indi-
viduality is an injury to us all. Failure to swiftly
respond to such an injury demeans the values we
as a community hold and trivializes the commu-
nity's commitment to these values. As such, we
stand in solidarity with others across campus who
have already condemned the alleged incidents
of hate that occurred against students because of
their non-majority identity. United by our values,
we ask that the University:
1) Stand behind its public statement strongly

condemning acts of hate on campus.
2) Pursue the maximum sanction against the
perpetrators of hate crimes, including expulsion.
3) Challenge and enable faculty, staff, students,
graduate student instructors and other members of
the campus community to proactively educate on
the impact of discrimination and importance of our
shared values of respect, tolerance and diversity.
4) Institute direct programs to educate stu-
dents, faculty and staff on the prevention and
identification of hate crimes and resources
available to victims.
5) Bolster existing resources such as the Office
of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs and the Office of
Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Affairs.
6) Support the efforts, findings and recom-
mendations of the undergraduate and graduate
student task force, currently known as Asian-
Pacific Islander Americans Change, recently
created to address hate incidents on campus.
7) Develop and implement a mechanism to
track incidents of this type for use in assessment
of the aforementioned initiatives.
8) Further refine the process for handling hate-
motivated harassment, such as following through
on the unfinished work of the 2004 Campus Safe-
ty and Security Advisory Committee.
9) Create a climate safe for victims of hate-
motivated harassment to file complaints and seek

meaningful redress.
We also encourage community members to
stand against hate-motivated harassment through
individual action, although we understand the
limitations of such actions without the full sup-
port of the University in implementing the above
We realize that there is much controversy and
debate surrounding the recent hate incident. Yet
student and faculty outcry sheds light on the fre-
quency with which these acts occur and go unre-
ported. We hope that the University will not miss
this opportunity to institutionalize measures to
protect members of the University community
and create a more tolerant campus climate.
Finally, we wish to express our support
for the victims of hate incidents and dedicate
these efforts to them.
Sharon Heijin Lee
The letter writer is writing on behalf of
American Culture Graduate Students,
Graduate Employees' Organization,
Philippine Study Group Student Association,
Public Health Students of African Descent,
Society of Minority Engineers
& Scientists - Graduate Students,
Students of Color in Public Policy and
Students of Color of Rackham.




Conservatives are not victims

Dear Campus Conservatives:
We need to chat. I've read over and over
about Conservative Coming Out Day. Forget
about offending the lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender community for a second. Whether
that's what you think you did is irrelevant. I have
another beef with you: false victimization. Don't
get me wrong, I think you're a great group. Your
opinions, though I disagree with nearly all of
them, are yours and no one should ever tell you
that your beliefs are bad. However, and I mean
no offense, you're delusional if you think you're
being persecuted. Certainly not in the same way

point to a liberal conspiracy to shut down all con-
servative thought on campus? Hardly. I ask you
this: From what departments are these oppressors
of free speech coming? More often than not, I'll
bet, they come from departments whose academ-
ic goals may include the analysis of governments
and politicians, some of whom may or may not be
conservative. A sociology professor who studies
the social impact of government programs is not
necessarily going to view President Bush's cuts to
social programs as a good thing. A history profes-
sor who looks beyond ruling elites to study past
events from a broader perspective is not going to
view policies that benefit only those with money
and power favorably. This is not a campus thing;

that after the 1960s, victims received sympathy.
Sympathy meant more people joining a cause
and more legislation could be passed that would
be beneficial to the victim. Thus, when certain
states start legalizing gay marriage, suddenly
"traditional" marriage is under attack. Or when
the American Civil Liberties Union petitions the
government to remove nativity scenes from pub-
lic spaces, suddenly Christmas and Christians
are under attack. Now they're doing the same
thing to conservatives on campus, portraying
you as victims under "attack." You're not. If you
believe that the largest demographic (Christian
conservatives) is also the most oppressed one
(as wonderful scholars like Pat Robertson have

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Amanda Burns,
John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg,
Eric Jackson, Ashwin Jagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Will Kerridge,


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