A dishonorable actStar-Telegram Editorial
February 23, 2004
There are plenty of things about raising and spending campaign money that could make public officials wonder whether they are approaching the fuzzy line between right and wrong.
Tom Craddick's situation isn't one of them.
A man who is campaigning to be speaker of the Texas House of Representatives should not be going around handing out checks worth tens of thousands of dollars to people who will use the money to get elected and then have a chance to vote in the speaker's race.
Texas has strong laws against vote-buying by speaker candidates. An Austin grand jury apparently is examining whether Craddick violated those laws when he passed out checks from the Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee to House candidates in the 2002 election.
Craddick is cooperating with the grand jury investigation. He says that he broke no laws and that there was no understanding that the campaign money would bring him votes in the speaker's race.
After looking into the matter, the grand jury may fully agree. Even so, this episode just plain stinks.
Some of Craddick's supporters blame Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, saying that his investigation into 2002 campaign spending on behalf of Republicans is politically inspired.
They say that Republicans didn't do anything that Democrats haven't done in previous years and gotten away with.
And if the Democrats jumped off a cliff, would the Republicans jump, too?
Tom Craddick is the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. That is an honored spot meant for honorable people.
Texans should be angry at him for this dishonorable act.