Convicted Felon Tom DeLay

"The Hammer" guilty of money laundering

Who's grinning now? Tom DeLay and his attorney Dick DeGuerin before the former U.S. House Majority Leader was convicted of money laundering
Who's grinning now? Tom DeLay and his attorney Dick DeGuerin before the former U.S. House Majority Leader was convicted of money laundering (Photo by John Anderson)

So, after years of waiting, the Texas capitol press corps gets to use the term "convicted felon Tom DeLay." Yes, a Travis County jury found the former U.S. House Majority Leader guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

It seems that the jury was not impressed by the court room theatrics of DeLay's attorney Dick DeGuerin (as chronicled by Michael King in his latest column) nor by "The Hammer"'s brief spin on Dancing With The Stars. Instead, DeLay now faces a maximum of life imprisonment when he returns for sentencing in December

It all goes back to the 2002 elections, when DeLay used his Texans for a Republican Majority PAC aka TRMPAC to funnel $190,000 in corporate donations to Republican candidates for the Texas House (The scandal is explained here quickly and in more depth here.)

DeLay is not the only person implicated in this long-running scandal: Former TRMPAC executive director John Colyandro and former Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee executive director Jim Ellis still face 13 charges a piece relating to the scheme. A fourth player, TRMPAC treasurer Bill Ceverha, lost a civil trial in 2005 and was ordered to pay $196,600 to five Democratic candidates who lost their seats to GOP beneficiaries of the DeLay money laundering scheme.

Texas Democratic Party chair Boyd Richie released this statement soon after DeLay's conviction was handed down:

Tonight, Tom DeLay was rightfully convicted of money laundering for the illegal scheme he orchestrated to funnel corporate money into Texas races. Perhaps “the Hammer” will come to understand that no one, regardless of their partisan political goals, is exempt from following our laws.

Though DeLay will have to serve his forthcoming sentence, everyday Texans continue to suffer for the stain his criminal activities and effort to gerrymander our districts has left on the quality of our representation. The illegal funds he funneled into our elections have left Texas with the most extremist State House membership in history and under threat of devastating budget cuts and policy changes.”

Matt Angle at the Lone Star Project weighed in with his own analysis of the impact of DeLay's criminal actions:

Just as DeLay planned, the Texas Legislature and the Texas Congressional Delegation reflect the most partisan, narrow minded and mean-spirited views in our society.

From Louie Gohmert’s bizarre rants to Joe Barton’s unbending defense of corporate negligence to Pete Sessions’ blind and befuddled partisanship, the Texas Congressional Delegation distorts public service into partisan extremism.

The DeLay legacy is also reflected in Joe Straus’s contributions to corrupt Republican House members and in Leo Berman’s hateful rants.

So what's the real significance of this result? Apart from the fact that it proves that even former House Majority leaders are subject to the law, it may send a chill across any attempts by the more radical Republicans to engage in anything too dubious in the upcoming redistricting debate.

This may not be the end to the GOP's legal financial woes. Both Republican Caucus Leader Larry Taylor and Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, are the subject of accusations of campaign finance double-dipping. Both are alleged to have claimed the same expenses against their campaign costs, then submitted the same receipts as state business. The Dallas Morning News reported that the Public Integrity Unit is already looking into Driver's accounts.

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Tom Delay, Courts, Dirty Tricks, Elections, Dick DeGuerin, TRMPAC, ARMPAC, John Colyandro, Jim Ellis, Matt Angle, Texans for a Republican Majority, Lone Star Project, Americans for a Republican Majority, Boyd Richie

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