A Travis County grand jury today indicted U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on one count of criminal conspiracy, jeopardizing the Sugar Land Republican's leadership role as the second most powerful Texan in Washington, D.C.
The charge, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years incarceration, stems from his role with his political committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, a now-defunct organization that already had been indicted on charges of illegally using corporate money during the 2002 legislative elections.
One thing this means is that he has to step down from his position as Majority Leader. Which could mean that another crooked Republican, Roy Blunt, could take over. But it still feels like Christmas.
UPDATE: It sounds like the new Majority Leader will be a Californian named Dreier. I can't say I'm very familiar with him. DeLay's response has been to refer to Texas prosecutorRonnie Earle as a "partisan fanatic." While he is a Democrat, his record of convictions (12 Democrats and 3 Republicans, I believe) says that he's anything but partisan.
Also, I accidentally referred to DeLay as House Speaker when I first posted this. I consider it a valuable lesson in allowing enthusiasm to result in carelessness.
UPDATE: The Smoking Gun has the official documentation of DeLay's indictment. It's good to see this happen to a politician so crooked he eats soup with a corkscrew.