Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Setting the Standard: Flores Gets 5 Years Probation

So today Democratic State Rep. Kino Flores was sentenced to five years probation in his state ethics charges. The Rep had failed to report income on what was reported to be 10% surcharges on contracts that he was involved with. He is also known to have used his campaign funds for personal benefit. He is one of the few sitting State Reps to be tried and convicted of a felony. Prior to this sentence former State Rep Terri Hodge (D-Dallas) got a year in the federal slammer for a similar offense.

So much for Tom DeLay’s and his lawyers’ assertions that a Republican can’t get a fair trial in Austin.

And doesn’t this now set a standard by which we can expect sentencing on DeLay’s case?

Flores, after all, was ethically challenged in that he took money for services rendered, a reported required 10%, and then didn’t report it on his TEC forms. He was in it for himself, and maybe to augment what is arguably the lowest paid job in the state, that of a part-time citizen-statesman as we like to call them.

But not Tom DeLay. He took not a cent of the TRMPAC money. He had it laundered by the RNC and then saw that it got to the seven State Rep candidates whose districts he had targeted in order to regain the State House majority in 2002.

Paving the way to a twice in a decade congressional redistricting that netted DeLay and congressional Republicans with a larger majority in 2004, and more power for him in general.

In short, where Kino Flores took some kick backs, Tom DeLay subverted an entire democratic process. Where Kino Flores maybe got himself maybe a nice new pair of Nocona alligator skin boots, Tom DeLay enabled what is has ultimately become the sale of congress to the highest bidder.

For what Kino Flores did, he got five years probation and a fine of ten large. Oh, and 400 hours of community service – supposedly without getting a 10% kickback for services rendered.

So the standard is set and you can be sure that there will be people out there taking note of what kind of sentence is handed down to Tom DeLay early next year. There are still those of us who feel that the punishment needs to fit the crime. And now that a five year probation is the punishment that fits Flores’ crime, it seems that some time in the slammer for Tom DeLay would not be out of bounds of what is fair punishment.

121 months. Minimum.

No comments: