Editor’s Note: The Associated Press is reporting that probation is more likely for Tom DeLay, though his conviction could carry a life sentence. The former House Majority Leader is expected to appeal, during which time he would most likely remain out of prison. Rampant political corruption in Washington and in the several states is inevitably linked to the undue influence of corporate lobbyists, and DeLay’s aggressive K Street Strategy has been a part of that trend. DeLay has alleged that political bias contributed in his case, and that argument could contribute to a softer sentence, or influence that result of an appeal. What is the line and what is the proper role of money in politics? And do crooked politicians belong behind bars?
News 8 Austin
November 26, 2010
Friday, Tom DeLay was convicted of felony money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The verdict confirms the state’s claims that said DeLay illegally pumped corporate dollars into Texas elections.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Lead prosecutor Gary Cobb said the jury made the right choice.
“It’s the outcome that we expected,” he said. “We thought the citizens of Travis County would see this case for what it was: a corrupt politician who was caught violating the laws of the state.”
“So many of these politicians act like theyâ€™re puppets or slaves to these moneyed interests, but what they have to understand is that the citizens of Texas demand that they do the peoples’ work,” Cobb said.
FLASHBACK – From Wikipedia: The K Street Project
DeLay’s involvement with the lobbying industry included a pointed effort on the part of the Republican Party to parlay the Congressional majority into dominance of K Street, the lobbying district of Washington, D.C. DeLay, Senator Rick Santorum, and Grover Norquist launched a campaign in 1995 encouraging lobbying firms to retain only Republican officials in top positions. Firms that had Democrats in positions of authority, DeLay suggested, would not be granted the ear of majority party members.
In 1999, DeLay was privately reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee after he pulled an important intellectual property rights bill off the House floor when the Electronics Industries Alliance hired a former Democratic Congressman, Dave McCurdy.
FLASHBACK: From Wikipedia: Jack Abramoff scandal
DeLay was one of the targets of the Justice Department investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s actions. Abramoff allegedly provided DeLay with trips, gifts, and political donations in exchange for favors to Abramoff’s lobbying clients, which included the government of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Internet gambling services, and several Native American tribes. Two of DeLay’s former political aides, Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon, as well as Abramoff himself, pleaded guilty in 2006 to charges relating to the investigation. Political columnist Robert Novak reported that Abramoff “has no derogatory information about former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and is not implicating him as part of his plea bargain with federal prosecutors.”
Washington Post | December 2, 2005
By Dan Eggen
Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.
The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department’s voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts. It also said the plan eliminated several other districts in which minorities had a substantial, though not necessarily decisive, influence in elections.