What does the settlement mean?

I have been thinking about this a little more. Diversified Collection acknowledges in its settlement with the District Attorney’s office that its $50,000 contribution to TRMPAC was based on "false and misleading information provided by the fund-raiser that solicited the contribution." That corroborates that someone – probably one of the three DeLay associates already under indictment – broke the law.

Clearly, Diversified was worried about the investigations impact on its bottom line. It is in line to win major new or expanded contracts with the federal government because of the recently passed appropriations bill. (I will leave for another time the argument that having collection agencies keep up to 25% of the past taxes they collection from taxpayers is a bad thing and a reward for years of political giving.)

Diversified agreed to acknowledge wrong-doing, stop making corporate contributions in Texas, make a financial donation to educate the public about corporate money in politics (hey, colleagues in Texas, who is gonna get this one? I have some suggestions about how you guys could spend it…), and cooperate with the investigation. The first three are all well and good; but the DA’s office really needed was Diversified’s cooperation.

So my question is, On whom did the company roll? And will that as yet unnamed fundraiser roll on anyone else? That is the real issue here.

My sources in Texas tell me that the next major indictment is likely to be Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick. They also say there is a major development coming soon. Frankly, as interesting as it is, I don’t think this settlement with Diversified Collection reaches the level of a "major development." But who knows? Maybe there this is the start of something major.

It looks to me like the prosecution is putting the edge pieces of the puzzle together in order to begin working toward the middle. They are not making a beeline at DeLay, or even Craddick. They are making very careful, clear steps to turn up the heat on those one rung, to mix my metaphors, below DeLay.