Friday, August 24, 2007

Superceding Considerations, Delucagate

"The course of action that we take today is not easy, but it is necessary, and we do not embark upon it lightly," Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr. told the Hartford Courant.

Indeed. There is a bottom and a top to almost everything said by Williams, and this one is one of the neatest political packages on the planet.

On his blog “To Wit,” Colin McEnroe notes a superceding consideration:

“Let me offer at least one aspect of this case about which more facts are needed. It comes from the announcement, two months ago, from the U.S. Attorney's office, about a superseding indictment in the Galante case:

“The Superseding Indictment also contains an additional racketeering act that alleges that members of the enterprise and their associates bundled campaign contributions to politicians, that is orchestrated campaign donations through straw donors who were then reimbursed in cash and, on occasion, provided unlawful favors to politicians so as to establish a corrupt relationship in the hope of improperly influencing or controlling these politicians.

“Gee. If I were looking into this on behalf of the people of Connecticut, I would certainly want to know who else got that kind of money and what effect it had on their behavior. Because the feds are pretty clear that it was not just one politician. (Lieberman was another beneficiary, but he too was not the only one.)

“In this regard, DeLuca's otherwise bizarre profession of victim status -- his notion that he is unfairly being singled out -- almost makes sense.”

William’s idea is to keep the legislative hearing into DeLucagate narrowly focused. No witnesses will be called; the hearing will consider only evidence currently available in the public domain; and DeLuca will be invited to address the hearing if he so chooses.

The narrow focus no doubt will please prosecutors on the hunt for Mob remnants in New England. It was, after all, state and federal prosecutors who conspired together to bring DeLuca up on a charge that was, in effect, non-prosecutable. The statute of limitations had run out on the charge to which DeLuca pleaded guilty -- making a false statement top federal agents -- and it is in order here to ask the question: Has the substance of the legislative hearing about to take place been shaped by the same prosecutors who offered DeLuca a deal he could not resist?

If the answer to that question is “Yes,” someone other than McEnroe and yours truly should be concerned with the independence of the legislature. The hearing should be broadened to investigate other legislators and politicians in the state whose political decisions have been influenced by unsavory, mob connected “businessmen.” The state legislature, whose business it is to represent the interests of the people of Connecticut, should not allow itself to become a handmaiden to other political agencies.
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