WSJ editorial page again wrongly attacked DeLay aides' prosecutor Ronnie Earle as a "partisan Democrat"March 28, 2005 4:02 PM EST ››› SIMON MALOY
A Wall Street Journal editorial attacked Travis County, Texas, District Attorney Ronnie Earle as "a partisan Democrat" who "has a record of making suspect accusations." But as Media Matters for America has documented on numerous occasions, accusations of Earle's partisanship (which the Journal has made before) are not supported by his record of prosecutions, which consists of far more Democrats than Republicans.
In September 2004, Earle indicted three top fund-raisers and eight corporate contributors to the Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee -- which is run by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) -- for campaign finance violations. He has reportedly not sought an indictment against DeLay to date.
From the March 28 Journal editorial:
Mr. Earle, a partisan Democrat, has a record of making suspect accusations: In 1993, he indicted newly elected Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison [R-TX] on evidence so weak the case was never brought to trial. The indictments of Mr. DeLay's associates came just six weeks before November's elections; Mr. Earle's primary aim, it seemed, was to derail Mr. DeLay's ultimately successful efforts to achieve the first Republican majority in the Texas delegation to the U.S. House since Reconstruction.
This accusation is similar to what the Journal wrote of Earle on September 24, 2004:
An openly partisan Democrat, Mr. Earle is the district attorney for Texas's Travis County, which encompasses Austin. In the past he has not hesitated to use his office to settle political scores. In 1993 he indicted Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison five days after she won her seat in a special election.
While the Journal editorial page has touted Earle's indictment of Sen. Hutchison as evidence of his partisanship, it has failed to note that Earle has prosecuted more Democrats than Republicans over the course of his career. A March 17*, 2004, Houston Chronicle editorial stated: "During his long tenure, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has prosecuted many more Democratic officials than Republicans. The record does not support allegations that Earle is prone to partisan witch hunts." A March 6, 2004, article in the El Paso Times offered further detail: "Earle says local prosecution is fundamental and points out that 11 of the 15 politicians he has prosecuted over the years were Democrats."
Notably, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page editor, Paul A. Gigot, vocally defended former independent counsel Kenneth Starr -- a Republican -- from similar accusations that Starr's multi-year, multimillion-dollar investigation of former President Clinton was politically motivated.
Correction: This item originally indicated that the Houston Chronicle editorial was from June 17, 2004, and linked to a website providing the full text of the editorial but another incorrect date, March 17, 2003. In fact, the editorial was written on March 17, 2004.