Friday, April 08, 2005

Don DeLay

When you're involved in the rackets, no one eats alone. Try it, and you'll find the cops stopping by frequently, or maybe just a couple of gentlemen with a desire to explain how things work around here. Unless you're crazy, or have a serious expectation that you can carve off your own territory from a bunch of hungry, entrenched criminals bent on killing the competition, you instead come to an arrangement.

Every week, you pay the vig. Depending on the size of the book you're making, or the number of whores you're pimping for, the vig will be small, or the vig will be large, but you've got to pay the vig, or you're not going to be in business, in town, or possibly above ground for very long.

Which brings us to Tom DeLay:
DeLay's lobby operation is more complicated but equally important to Republican Party hegemony. As described by American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein, the K Street Project by which DeLay domesticated the corporate lobby is a "Tammany Hall operation" that ensures only Republicans are hired for big lobbying jobs that pay as much as $1 million a year. Once hired, "everyone is expected to contribute some of that money back into Republican campaigns," Ornstein told me when I was working on a book on DeLay last year. According to Ornstein, DeLay and the K Street project have even locked up the entry-level lobby positions that pay from $150,000 to $250,000 a year -- with the understanding that anyone who gets a job "maxes out" in contributions to Republican candidates and campaigns.
In the mob that the Republican party has become, no one eats alone. Fortunately, there's a law targeted right for them, RICO:
Section 1962(b) makes it unlawful for a person to acquire or maintain an interest in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. Section 1962(b) is perhaps the most difficult RICO claim to express in practical terms. A stereotypical violation of section 1962(b) occurs when a victim business owner cannot make payments to a loan shark; upon default, the loan shark says: "you're either going to die or you're going to give me your business." Given the threat to this life, the victim transfers control of his business to the loan shark. Usually, the victim business owner remains the owner on paper but the loan shark controls the business and receives all income from the business. Thus, the loan shark has acquired and maintained interest or control over an enterprise (i.e. the business) through a pattern of racketeering (i.e., loan sharking and extortion).

Section 1962(d) makes it unlawful for a person to conspire to violate subsections (a), (b) or (c) of the RICO Act.

By far the most useful and common civil RICO claim is found under section 1962(c), which makes it unlawful for a person to manipulate an enterprise for purposes of engaging in, concealing, or benefiting from a pattern of racketeering activity. Given its broad utility, the general elements of a RICO claim will be discussed in the context of a section 1962(c) claim. Distinctions will then be made between section 1962(c) claims and claims under 1962(a), (b) and (d).
It's time to take down Don DeLay, head of one of the most feared, dangerous and well-financed mobs in American history: the Republican Party.


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