Tom DeLay was convicted this week of money laundering, for violating a then hundred-year old law prohibiting corporations from giving money to candidates, whether directly or indirectly.
Naturally, he considers it to be a partisan vendetta. It’s hard to imagine that there isn’t at least some Schadenfreude going on here, so to that extent he is correct. At the same time, there are no disputes regarding the facts in the case.
DeLay gave $190,000, given to him by corporate lobbyists, to the RNC, who then distributed the money to seven Republican candidates for Texas state legislature positions. They had an 86% success rate, scoring six wins, which helped to push the state legislature to the Republican side for the first time since Reconstruction, and allowed for the controversial mid-decade redistricting, designed to maximize the number of Republican House members representing Texas in Washington, DC.
It’s hard to imagine anyone more hyper-partisan than DeLay. I can’t help but wonder if he’s pleased with the tone of the House today, as a reflection of his efforts of the last decade. And I wonder what it will take, and how long, to repair the damage.
- Tom DeLay, convicted felon (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Tom DeLay Is Probably Not Going to Get Life in Prison [Sentences] (gawker.com)
- Tom DeLay Convicted on Money Laundering Charges (theroot.com)
- The Hammer comes down: DeLay convicted (politico.com)
One can always hope that some one of his regressive old guard gets over zealous and gets caught bribing the judge or trying to, or maybe the check bounces………then we can probably expect Issa to investigate it to death if there is any way he can.
I was amused by DeLay’s comment decrying the “criminalization of politics.” That’s merely what happens when we elect criminals.
Texas law prohibits corporations from donating money to state candidates.
Both parties developed a workaround. Legal corporate donations to the state party were sent to the national party in exchange for national party donations to state candidates.
Tom Delay used this workaround to get money to a handful of state GOP candidates. Most of the candidates won, the GOP took the legislature and then successfully redistricted Texas.
A Dem DA invented his own prosecutorial work around and charged Delay with money laundering. The legal problem was that money laundering is the exchange of money gained in an illegal act for clean money. Corporations donating money to a party is no illegal.
At least some of the jurors were having a problem with the Dem DA’s abuse of the money laundering law. There were a slew of jury questions to the judge, including: “Can it constitute money laundering if the money wasn’t procured by illegal means originally?” The judge declined to answer the question, directing the jury to the instructions which also did not answer the question. Without any guidance, the jury eventually convicted.
Now we go on appeal, where this question of law will be considered de novo by the court of appeals.
Nice spin, Bart. Thanks for the partisan right view that brushes aside authoritarian rightwing corruption. Totalitarian dictators frequently hide behind a pretense of law, blatantly violating the spirit and intent of the law while attempting to remain a hair’s breadth on one side of the letter.
Delay was (and is) obscenely corrupt. He established an obscenely corrupt system and environment. The idea that right wing authoritarian dictators can ignore the law was advanced by Nixon, Reagan, and Bush 2, an idea championed by elitist partisan operatives like Delay. It’s nice to see at least one of these vile criminals going to jail. If there is any justice in the world, he’ll be there for the rest of his life. That is not even approaching the proper punishment for a man who did his best to destroy democracy in America.
That you wish to defend his anti-democratic elitist authoritarian totalitarian hatred of the rule of law says a lot.
I wonder if the DA’s closing statement sounded like your rant? Thankfully, we live in a nation of laws rather than under the Chinese cultural revolution style lynch mobs you fantasize about.
The appeals courts reversed the Feds’ abuse of the “honest services laws” to criminally prosecute executives for the civil matter of mismanaging their companies.
Hopefully, the appellate courts will reverse this prosecutorial abuse as well.
This is what Bart is defending: back when DeLay was the majority leader I used to hobnob a fair bit with folks in the government (I worked for a goco at the time, doing research on missile defense). The story went around about a park attendant who spotted a guy standing under a no smoking sign puffing away on a big, fat cigar. He went up to him and asked him to stop, as government regulations forbade smoking there, to which the guy replied, “I am the government. — and went on smoking. That guy was Tom DeLay.
Now, it’s absolutely true that an anecdote is not proof of anything, but:
a) everybody I knew in the government believed this story without question and
b) nothing in DeLay’s past or present behavior indicates that there should be any doubt about its veracity.
This is a man who believed he was above the law. It’s beyond obvious that his actions violated the spirit of the law in question. He’s an utterly corrupt individual, and has had his day in court.
And it’s not like he’ll do any time. He’ll get a slap on the wrist and probably run for re-election, even if he can’t get it overturned on a technicality on appeal.
Even the Washington Post is questioning the Delay prosecution:
@Bart… what d’you mean, “EVEN the Washington Post?”
WaPo’s Op-Ed pages are notoriously, relentlessly, unapologetically right-wing.