Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison
Former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years behind bars for his role in a scheme that illegally funneled corporate money to Texas Republican candidates in 2002.
Last November, an Austin jury convicted DeLay of conspiring with two associates to use his political action committee to send $190,000 worth of corporate donations to the Republican National Committee (RNC), which in turn distributed the cash to seven Texas House candidates. Those Texas Republicans then enabled DeLay to redraw political district boundaries more favorable to the GOP. That gerrymandering, in turn, led to even more Texas Republicans in Congress, further strengthening DeLay’s power. Under Texas law, corporate donations to political campaigns are banned.
Senior Judge Pat Priest sentenced DeLay, once one of the most powerful and feared politicians in America, on the conspiracy charge. Judge Priest also sentenced DeLay to five years for money laundering but reduced the punishment to 10 years’ probation. He could have faced up to life imprisonment. He was freed on $10,000 bond pending appeal, a process which could take months or even years.
DeLay still shows no remorse for his crimes. “I can’t be remorseful for something I don’t think I did,” he explained during a ten-minute speech he delivered before his sentencing. He called the case “selective prosecution” and said the ordeal has greatly affected his wife’s health and his wallet– DeLay has spent more than $10 million in legal fees. It also cost him his job, the second-highest ranking position in the US House of Representatives.
“This criminalization of politics is very dangerous,” DeLay opined. “It’s dangerous to our system. Just because somebody disagrees with you they got to put you in jail, bankrupt you, destroy your family,” he added.
But Tom Delay has got no one to blame but himself for the predicament he’s in. The Republican Party has become little more than an instrument of corporate power in America today; this case was a small but important victory against the corporatist tide that has all but washed away any pretense of popular democracy in the United States.
Tagged DeLay conspiracy, DeLay gerrymandering, DeLay money laundering, former house majority leader tom delay, GOP, Republican National Committee, RNC, Senior Judge Pat Priest, Tom DeLay sentenced to 3 years