On the October 11 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund claimed that Ronnie Earle -- the Travis County, Texas, district attorney who filed conspiracy and money laundering charges against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) -- "has a track record over the past few years of being often off-base in his prosecutions." As evidence to support his claim, Fund cited "two great failures" by Earle: his 1983 indictment of then-Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox (D) and his 1993 indictment of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), both of which ended in acquittals. But in making the accusation, Fund cherry-picked the only two failures from Earle's nearly 30-year record of prosecuting public officials, which includes 13 successful prosecutions out of a total of 15.
As Media Matters for America previously noted, Earle secured indictments against public officials on 15 occasions prior to his indictment of DeLay. Of those 15 prosecutions, 13 were successful, ending in a conviction, a guilty plea, or a plea of no contest. Only the prosecutions of Mattox and Hutchison ended in acquittals.
From the October 11 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
FUND: You are going to have a great Texas shootout on this case. You've got Tom DeLay and his six-guns, and you've got Ronnie Earle and his six-guns -- only one of them is going to be left standing, Chris. I think Ronnie Earle has a track record over the past few years of being often off-base in his prosecutions. He had two great failures with the Texas attorney general, a Democrat, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican. On the other hand, with Tom DeLay, you have all of the allegations trailing behind him, and including the admonishments from the House. So I have to tell you, one of them is going down, and one of them is going to be left standing.