First, former Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet was placed under house arrest while South American officials move forward with various charges, including failure to pay $2.4 million in taxes.
Then stateside, GOP Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California resigned from his House seat after admitting to tax evasion and conspiring to take $2.4 million in bribes in the form of a Rolls-Royce, a yacht and antique French furniture. What's up with this $2.4 million amount?
You can count on Democrats, after years of being left out in the political cold while the other guys ran the White House, Senate and House, to add this to their "culture of corruption" checklist that already includes Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Ohio GOP fundraiser Tom Noe and former House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas.
Here in Austin, smack dab in the middle of Travis County where the DeLay indictment was handed up, we were among the first to see those TV ads produced by a conservative advocacy group that denounced DA Ronnie Earle as an "attack dog" for pursuing DeLay. Gotta hand it to these guys. Whatever kind of culture they've got going, they do know how to come out swinging, quickly and hard.
The ad contends that Earle targeted DeLay simply because he's a conservative Republican. What they didn't mention was that during Earle's nearly 30-year prosecutorial tenure, he's indicted four more times Democrats than Republicans. Guess they just didn't have time in the 30-second spot to get around to that.
As DeLay's trial nears, keep your fingers crossed that the ad expands to your local TV market. It's a hoot. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of it here. And this is one time that I wouldn't mind being called for jury duty.