DeLay gets three years for money laundering, racketeering

posted at 10:12 am on January 11, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

A judge in Texas sentenced former House Majority Leader Tom Delay to three years in prison after a November conviction for money laundering and racketeering.  Delay’s attorney vowed that “This will not stand on appeal,” but Judge Pat Priest reaffirmed the original verdict, telling Delay that he agreed with the jury.  He will also serve 10 years of probation after his release:

Judge Pat Priest sentenced Tom DeLay to three years in prison.

The three-year sentence was on the charge of conspiring to launder corporate money into political donations during the 2002 elections.

On the charge of money laundering, DeLay was sentenced to five years in prison, but that was probated for 10 years. That means he would serve 10 years’ probation. ..

Judge Priest said he agreed with the jury’s guilty verdict, returned in November, and would have instructed a different verdict if he did not believe DeLay conspired to break the law.

He said there is no higher principle than that those who write the laws should follow the law.

Delay managed to avoid indictment this past summer over the Jack Abramoff scandal when the Department of Justice concluded its probe into Delay’s actions.  These charges were separate from the lobbying scandal.  The jury convicted him of laundering almost $200,000 in corporate donations through the RNC for seven Republican House candidates.  Corporations are not allowed to donate to individual campaigns, and commingling “soft” and “hard” money has been illegal since the aftermath of Watergate.

If Delay did indeed break the law — and both the jury and judge insist he did — then a prison sentence is warranted.  It could have been much worse; the maximum on these charges goes to 99 years.  Delay has famed Texas defense lawyer Dick De Guerin at his side, and perhaps we will find irregularities such as were found in the conviction and later reversal of Ted Stevens’ conviction on corruption charges.  It will be worth watching this case work its way through the appeals process.


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Is this the case that took two Grand Juries to indict him?

TexasDan on January 11, 2011 at 10:15 AM

I still believe that politicians should be held to a higher standard. You get busted in this kind of stuff, the penalties should double. We need to clean up the Congress, and holding these people accountable instead of letting them slide is imperative to the legitimacy of our Republic.

search4truth on January 11, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Serves him right, but if he were a democrat, this would be a resume enhancement.

CurtZHP on January 11, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Lock him up.

No excuses. The law is the law.

Good Lt on January 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

The Hammer to the Slammer.

cat-scratch on January 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Still waiting with baited breath for convictions of Rangel, Maxine Walters, Boxer, Pelosi, Reid….

Badger40 on January 11, 2011 at 10:19 AM

I still believe that politicians should be held to a higher standard. You get busted in this kind of stuff, the penalties should double. We need to clean up the Congress, and holding these people accountable instead of letting them slide is imperative to the legitimacy of our Republic.

search4truth on January 11, 2011 at 10:16 AM

I jsut think they should actually be held accountable under the law.
Like will Clinton.
Why did he get away with sexual harrassment of an intern in the White House?

Badger40 on January 11, 2011 at 10:20 AM

He’s guilty I guess, but it does smell a lot when he gets this punishment and people like Rangel get spoken to sharply.

jeanie on January 11, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Badger40 on January 11, 2011 at 10:20 AM

excellent point.

search4truth on January 11, 2011 at 10:21 AM

DeLay gets three years for money laundering, racketeering

Good. Like with most prominent defendants, DeLay’s strategy has been to paint this as a highly politicized witch hunt. Looks like the judge and the jury didn’t fall for it.

crr6 on January 11, 2011 at 10:21 AM

DeLay should have switched parties right before the trial started, instead of prison he would be part of PBHO’s economic team.

Bishop on January 11, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Lock him up.

No excuses. The law is the law.

Good Lt on January 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Sorry, but so long as members of only one of the political parties are being sent to prison for their corruption, it isn’t law and order, it’s just more corruption. When I see a headline that says Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, and Eric Holder have been given prison sentences, law and order will have been restored.

Rational Thought on January 11, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Delay should change his name to Charlie Rangel and appeal.

Judge Pat Priest ? I was wondering what happened to the Munster’s blonde daughter? In a different realm of show business, of sorts.

viking01 on January 11, 2011 at 10:25 AM

He’s guilty I guess, but it does smell a lot when he gets this punishment and people like Rangel get spoken to sharply.

jeanie on January 11, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Because unlike DeLay, Rangel wasn’t convicted of breaking any criminal laws. He broke House ethics rules. His punishment (censure) was actually the second most severe form of punishment available (the most severe is expulsion).

crr6 on January 11, 2011 at 10:26 AM

He will get cleared on appeal.

seven on January 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Still waiting with baited breath for convictions of Rangel, Maxine Walters, Boxer, Pelosi, Reid…. – Badger40 on January 11, 2011 at 10:19 AM

You forgot to include our Secretary of Treasury who ought to be in prison, too. He knew darn well what he was doing when he filed those incorrect tax returns. I hope that Delay appeals and gets off.

SC.Charlie on January 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Wait, giving money to the RNC who then gives it to candidates is money laundering? I though that was the whole purpose of the RNC to raise money for candidates. What about the DNC?

Does this court decision just declare raising money for republican candidates illegal?

Skandia Recluse on January 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Those of you who do not live in Texas have to know that DeLay was indicted in a very liberal part of Texas by a prosecutor’s office known to go on witch hunts against Republican politicians. Ronny Earle tried the same thing with Kay Bailey Hutchison and failed.

I’m not saying DeLay is innocent, but anything of this sort coming out of Austin raises my suspicions.

halfastro on January 11, 2011 at 10:29 AM

This was a travesty of justice. A jury of liberals who even asked the judge for clarification concerning the law but were denied convicted Delay.

I hope he wins appeal, but the chances are slim.

Vanbasten on January 11, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Because unlike DeLay, Rangel wasn’t convicted of breaking any criminal laws. He broke House ethics rules. His punishment (censure) was actually the second most severe form of punishment available (the most severe is expulsion).

crr6 on January 11, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Nice twisted logic there, fella. He wasn’t “convicted” of a crime because the corrupt Holder justice department refused to charge him with the crime that he, IN FACT, did commit. What’s the statute of limitations on tax fraud, anyway? Maybe he’ll get charged when Holder’s sent to prison.

Rational Thought on January 11, 2011 at 10:32 AM

The collective level of petty corruption rampant in the Democratic Party, if written down, would fill the entire Library of Congress and they’d have to rent a building for the over flow. The words ‘Democratic Party’ have become synonomous with corruption for so long that everyone sort of laughs and shakes their head helplessly. It’s taken as political gospel, as commonplace. One eventually gets the reality that they are proud of it as some sort of unspoken tradition.

jeanie on January 11, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Since the Texas county I’m in had to shell out $10,000 a month over a three-year period to DeLay’s brother to serve as a lobbyist to keep federal inmates at the county-owned prison, the conviction here doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Irregardless of the verdict here, while Bush gets a lot of the blame (some deserved) for souring voters on Republicans and setting the table for Obama, when it comes to Congress and the image of the GOP getting way too cozy with Washington insiders and with spending taxpayer dollars to maintain their own positions, Tom DeLay is culprit No. 1 as far as setting up the past four years of Nancy Pelosi as Majority Leader. His “Do as I say, not as I do” actions didn’t just turn off independents but alienating conservatives from the party, especially during the 2006 election.

jon1979 on January 11, 2011 at 10:33 AM

ha ha go to jail you arrogant piece o sh*t

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Because unlike DeLay, Rangel wasn’t convicted of breaking any criminal laws. He broke House ethics rules. His punishment (censure) was actually the second most severe form of punishment available (the most severe is expulsion).

crr6 on January 11, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Wesley Snipes begs to differ.

conservative pilgrim on January 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM

And Rangel is another arrogant piece o sh*t who should have been expelled.

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM

And Rangel is another arrogant piece o sh*t who should have been expelled. gone to jail.

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM

FIFY

conservative pilgrim on January 11, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Calling campaign contributions “money laundering” is a major stretch by any account.

Considering the SCOTUS’s decision allowing corporate contributions for politics, this conviction should not stand.

The Rock on January 11, 2011 at 10:37 AM

good-bye.

sesquipedalian on January 11, 2011 at 10:38 AM

He will get cleared on appeal.

seven on January 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

As I understand it, much of the charges against him one can argue are ex post facto. Even if it is not true, as I pointed out to my liberal father–the prosecution did no good for Texas Democrats. It can’t stop redistricting or blunt the Republican majority in Texas.

Sekhmet on January 11, 2011 at 10:38 AM

And Rangel is another arrogant piece o sh*t who should have been expelled.

Dave Rywall

Dear Dave,

sorry, but the House of Reps ain’t a private fraternity from which people can be expelled.

audiculous on January 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM

And Rangel is another arrogant piece o sh*t who should have been expelled. gone to jail.

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM

FIFY

conservative pilgrim on January 11, 2011 at 10:36 AM
——-
He11, if what he did was jailable, then f*ck yes, throw his stupid fat arrogant as* in jail.

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 10:40 AM

And Rangel is another arrogant piece o sh*t who should have been expelled.

Dave Rywall

Dear Dave,

sorry, but the House of Reps ain’t a private fraternity from which people can be expelled.

audiculous on January 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Hey captain dumba*s – why don’t you go read up what the next level of “severe” punishment is beyond censure?

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Rangel wasn’t convicted of breaking any criminal laws. He broke House ethics rules.

Knowingly avoiding the payment of taxes has sent many an unpriveliged peon to jail – Rangel commited crimes of the worse type and should be in jail for his actions.

Don L on January 11, 2011 at 10:41 AM

His guilt is strongly in question. His actions were sanctioned by several lawyers at the time and met the letter, if not the spirit, of the law.

This was a witch hunt. They finally found a judge willing to allow this to go to trial, and held the case in super liberal Austin.

He’s right, it shouldn’t stand up to an appeal.

Vera on January 11, 2011 at 10:42 AM

As I understand it, much of the charges against him one can argue are ex post facto. Even if it is not true, as I pointed out to my liberal father–the prosecution did no good for Texas Democrats. It can’t stop redistricting or blunt the Republican majority in Texas.

Sekhmet on January 11, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Yep.
I don’t DeLay is guilty of anything.
This whole thing has been nothing but a Soviet-style political trial.
DeLay was only guilty of being an effective REPUBLICAN majority whip.

Jenfidel on January 11, 2011 at 10:43 AM

If only democrats would subject to the same.

darwin on January 11, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Where can I find the details on the Rangel trial? Or the trial of tax cheat Geithner?

I’d like to know what excuse these men used to escape punishment for non-payment of taxes so I can use them myself.

Bishop on January 11, 2011 at 10:45 AM

As I understand it, much of the charges against him one can argue are ex post facto. Even if it is not true, as I pointed out to my liberal father–the prosecution did no good for Texas Democrats. It can’t stop redistricting or blunt the Republican majority in Texas.

Sekhmet on January 11, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Ronnie Earl did indeed try to nail DeLay on ex post facto charges. I haven’t followed it, is this the same charge that Earl finally got the (third) grand jusry to indict him on?

iurockhead on January 11, 2011 at 10:46 AM

audiculous on January 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM

It’s also not a place you can hide from criminal prosecution that any other citizen would face. If I were to get in trouble with the IRS it’s a lead pipe cinch that I wouldn’t get to hold a fundraiser so that others would pay my fine and lawyer fees.

Cindy Munford on January 11, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Still waiting with baited breath for convictions of Rangel, Maxine Walters, Boxer, Pelosi, Reid….

Badger40 on January 11, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Exactly! How in f***ing hell are those vile, criminal scum still walking the streets? I know, I know…they’re Dems. Stinking worms.

Extrafishy on January 11, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Do consider well that all of these proceedings v. DeLay occurred in Far Leftist Travis County downtown Austin TX.

Major error in defense strategy was to not request change of venue from the onset, out of the Ronnie Earle clique’s clutches.

One thing has been proved. Trusting in “tolerance” and equality under the law in Austin TX [Democratic-Socialist coerce "Judicial Justice" by persecuting rule-of-law in order to favor any "special class"] was a misjudgment on DeLay’s defense team’s part. DeLay’s personal confidence in fair-play in Texas proved poor judgment on his famous defense attorney’s part in particular. It’s DeLay’s responsibility to project his own beliefs in Texan fair-play, and in his innocence of corruption charge. It’s his attorney’s responsibility to consider well reality before allowing his own legal ego along with his client’s ego to trump wisdom.

This began with the Leftist-Democrats’ misplaced sense of superiority that it is their monopolized authoritarian right to redistrict, to refuse to enforce politically inconvenient laws, and to register illegal aliens to vote as if US citizens. That setting is not to be ignored in Earle’s determination to take down DeLay at all costs. And it cost Ronnie Earle NADA. If anything, Earle and the Travis County and Texas Democrat Party have profited immensely by this smear campaign that proved fabrications repeated enough are considered evidence in Texan courtrooms, given the nod by the Holder styled corrupt judicial system.

/Another inconvenient GWBush ally abandoned, a la Scooter Libby.

maverick muse on January 11, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Sorry, but so long as members of only one of the political parties are being sent to prison for their corruption, it isn’t law and order, it’s just more corruption. When I see a headline that says Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, and Eric Holder have been given prison sentences, law and order will have been restored.

Rational Thought on January 11, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Great words there, and let’s add Daschle and Geithner to the list.

slickwillie2001 on January 11, 2011 at 10:50 AM

clearly PALIN’s fault…..

SDarchitect on January 11, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Many people have gone to jail for lesser tax evasion crimes than Rangel. See Wesley Snipes. The irony is that Rangel was the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Committee that deals with taxes. If anyone should know, he would. Riiiiight?

Some letters are more powerful (D) than others (R).

conservative pilgrim on January 11, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Major error in defense strategy was to not request change of venue from the onset

They did. It was denied.

Vera on January 11, 2011 at 10:56 AM

conservative pilgrim on January 11, 2011 at 10:55 AM

I think you and Mr. Rywall are on the same side in this argument.

Cindy Munford on January 11, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Many people have gone to jail for lesser tax evasion crimes than Rangel. See Wesley Snipes. The irony is that Rangel was the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Committee that deals with taxes. If anyone should know, he would. Riiiiight?

Some letters are more powerful (D) than others (R).

conservative pilgrim on January 11, 2011 at 10:55 AM
——
It is indeed complete and utter bullshit that Rangel is not in jail.

I guess Crooked dems have better lawyers than crooked republicans.
But nobody seems to care since you all let 99% of them get away with sh*t.

Up here we have a suspended senator who is STILL billing expenses and travel since there’s a loophole where it doesn’t actually SAY when you’re suspended you can’t keep running your stupid senate office and travel to and fro. Again, we the people let them get away with it.

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM

and perhaps we will find irregularities such as were found in the conviction and later reversal of Ted Stevens’ conviction on corruption charges.

You think, Ed?

There will be questions raised about how Travis County DA Ronnie Earle shopped the case around to multiple Grand Juries in order to get the original indictment at the absolute least.

I wouldn’t be surprised if DeLay’s attorneys subpoena the makers of “The Big Buy”, a documentary where filmmakers followed Earle around as he put together the indictment, to get all the footage on the cutting-room floor. Doing so will probably produce some interesting footage of Earle doing something he shouldn’t in order to get the indictment, which could help throw out the whole case.

teke184 on January 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM

and perhaps we will find irregularities such as were found in the conviction and later reversal of Ted Stevens’ conviction on corruption charges.

You think, Ed?

There will be questions raised about how Travis County DA Ronnie Earle shopped the case around to multiple Grand Juries in order to get the original indictment at the absolute least.

I wouldn’t be surprised if DeLay’s attorneys subpoena the makers of “The Big Buy”, a documentary where filmmakers followed Earle around as he put together the indictment, to get all the footage on the cutting-room floor. Doing so will probably produce some interesting footage of Earle doing something he shouldn’t in order to get the indictment, which could help throw out the whole case.

teke184 on January 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM
——
ha ha ha you guys are suggesting that Stevens was clean
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM

I think you and Mr. Rywall are on the same side in this argument.

Cindy Munford on January 11, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Indeed. I will mark this on my calendar. ;-)

conservative pilgrim on January 11, 2011 at 11:12 AM

ha ha ha you guys are suggesting that Stevens was clean
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha

Dave Rywall on January 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM

I’m not. The process which convicted him, in this case, was corrupted. That process is also part of our government. For exhibit A on the impact of how that can affect a country, see Mexico.

a capella on January 11, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Railroaded

Period

franksalterego on January 11, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Put him in Jail.

HondaV65 on January 11, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Personally I think Tom Delay did nothing wrong. Let us see how it turns out. Fund-raising for political purposes is a perfectly legitimate activity. We shall see.

antisocial on January 11, 2011 at 11:49 AM

I had followed this a few years ago and the statute he was charged under wasn’t enacted until after he’s alleged to have committed it. So essentially it wasn’t illegal when he did it. Is that not the case?

fudgypup on January 11, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Ronnie Earl did indeed try to nail DeLay on ex post facto charges. I haven’t followed it, is this the same charge that Earl finally got the (third) grand jusry to indict him on?

iurockhead on January 11, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Yes, it was the third grand jury, and the trial jury asked for clarification, and were denied by the judge.

Vashta.Nerada on January 11, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Suggesting to send money there instead of here is not breaking the law.

Anyway is illustrates how wussiedfied the Repubs are. This makes me sick knowing that, when them come for us, we will have no one to stand up for us.

Viva la tea party. Viva Sarah Palin the only one that has showed any gonads to stand her ground.

serendip2b on January 11, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Like will Clinton.
Why did he get away with sexual harrassment of an intern in the White House?

Badger40 on January 11, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Clinton didn’t get away with sexual harassment of an intern in the White House, he got away with perjury.

equanimous on January 11, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Those of you who do not live in Texas have to know that DeLay was indicted in a very liberal part of Texas by a prosecutor’s office known to go on witch hunts against Republican politicians. Ronny Earle tried the same thing with Kay Bailey Hutchison and failed.
I’m not saying DeLay is innocent, but anything of this sort coming out of Austin raises my suspicions.
halfastro on January 11, 2011 at 10:29 AM

And to answer many of the later posts:

I lived in Austin when this went down. The law that convicted DeLay wasn’t even on the books at the time of the money raising and stuff. Then that corrupt, politically motivated DA shopped grand juries after he kept getting denied, until he found one in the last hour of their time, to finally deliver the indictment.

Then it became a kangaroo court, no change in venue, there are only about 3 to 5 democrat counties in all of Texas and Travis county is an uber liberal Austin enclave of upper income ruling lib elitists who relish the idea of taking down an effective Speaker of the House, that was the jury pool.

This case will get tossed on appeal.

karenhasfreedom on January 11, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Wonder how many years Obama and his cast of thieves would be eligible for for all the MILLIONS of illegal contributions he received in 2008.

That is if anyone would ever have the guts to seriously investigate him, or any Dem for that matter.

Sporty1946 on January 11, 2011 at 12:56 PM

From the indictment, most of the charges were against two other men, and DeLay’s name was mentioned only once, for writing a check to them, as if Ronnie Earle was trying to prove “guilt by association” because DeLay was a Congressman and House Majority Leader at the time, while the others were campaign operatives.

The charges seem to stem from the use of NRCC campaign funds destined to elect Republicans to the US House, and diverting them to candidates for the Texas State legislature–in effect, DeLay was using money donated from out-of-state to fund campaigns which would only affect Texas.

“Money-laundering” seems to be too harsh of a charge here, since the money was willingly donated to fund Republican campaigns, but not intended to fund those particular campaigns. A more accurate charge would be “misappropriation of funds”, or transfer of funds to a purpose for which they were not intended, which would probably carry a lesser penalty.

The prison term does make it seem like DeLay was “railroaded”, but since he is no longer in the House, the new GOP majority is free from the taint of the wheeling and dealing of the “K Street Project” and Abramoff, and hopefully they can keep their minds on more important things, like cutting taxes and spending, and undoing as much of the Obama agenda as possible.

Steve Z on January 11, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Political witch hunt.

Tim Burton on January 11, 2011 at 1:34 PM

this is a bogus prosection. under Texas law money laundering requires the money in question to have been gained through criminal activity. no criminal activity no laundering. he’ll walk

chasdal on January 11, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Dear Dave,

sorry, but the House of Reps ain’t a private fraternity from which people can be expelled.

audiculous

from Wiki


20 Members have been expelled: 15 from the Senate and five from the House of Representatives (of those one member’s expulsion was posthumously reversed). Because the bulk of the expulsions were expulsions of Southern sympathizers during the American Civil War, 19 of the 20 expulsions involved a member of the Democratic Party,

Hmmmmmm,

“19 of the 20 expulsions involved a member of the Democratic Party”

Purely a coincident, I’m sure. ;-)

E9RET on January 11, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Racketeering? Technically, he was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. For a money laundering conviction to stand, the source of the money must be illegal. Tell me how legal contributions to Delay’s PAC make this money laundering. You can’t.

Sorry, Delay haters. He walks on appeal.

BigAlSouth on January 11, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Sorry, Delay haters. He walks on appeal.

BigAlSouth on January 11, 2011 at 2:34 PM

That is what SHOULD happen in this case.

JannyMae on January 11, 2011 at 2:38 PM

The merdivorous Ronnie Earle is the one that should be in jail.

slickwillie2001 on January 11, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Delay was taken down because he was a very effective speaker. Just like Newt Gingrich and Livingston (can’t think of his first name). Typical democrat politics – take down an effective speaker, so Boehner knows better than to step on toes. In other words, you can’t be an effective Republican speaker, or you will get taken down by the Dems. Their modus operandi.

silvernana on January 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM

I remember quite well all the conservative legal pundits (at NRO for example) at the time saying the case was horsehockey, that they were charging Delay for laundering money that the donors could very legally have given directly. I also remember that the initial indictment was so bogus that it was thrown out of court, and that the prosecutor was a highly partisan hack who targeting Republicans.

It all sounds bogus to me.

American Elephant on January 11, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Is this the case that took two Grand Juries to indict him?

TexasDan on January 11, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Wasn’t it three?

First returned an indictment on a charge that was thrown out because it wasn’t a crime.
Second did not return an indictment.
Democrats got lucky on the third.

malclave on January 11, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Ed, you need to get up to speed on this case. Delay is getting railroaded, it is a travesty of justice, and it is shameful that conservatives are not standing up for him.

Here’s the facts as I understand them. A local Texas PAC that was supporting local Texas candidates was run by 2 political operatives. Delay lent his name for fundraising purposes as he did with many organizations. It was/is illegal according to Texas state law for corporations to donate money to candidates (is this affected by recent Supreme Court ruling?). Some people have alleged that the law was not even in effect at the time of the alleged crime, but I’m not sure about this.

Approximately $200,000 of corporate donations from Texas were contributed to the RNC. The RNC put that money into an account “firewalled” as corporate donations where it would only be used for legal expenditures for that source of funds. Over the election season, the RNC sent OTHER money back to the Texas PAC that was legally allowed to be spent on the local Texas races. It was not an exact dollar for dollar swap, but the liberal DA in liberal Austin that required 3 grand juries just to get an indictment added up up various dollar amounts to get back up to approximately $200,000 that flowed from the RNC back to the Texas PAC.

HOW IS THIS ILLEGAL?!!?

The corporate funds were used for legal spending at the RNC. The RNC sent back funds that were legally allowed to be spent on the local races. There was nothing illegal that happened!

Some people say that all this money in politics is distasteful and so Delay deserves jail. To these people, I say GROW UP!, and Delay does not deserve jail for being tangentially involved in legal political fundraising.

Some people, more legitimately, say the cash flowing back and forth defeats the spirit of the Texas law. But we don’t prosecute people if they take advantage of legal loopholes or workarounds to a poorly constructed law. If desired, we amend the law to close the loophole. Texas could have tried to change the law to make it so that local candidates could not accept money from any outside organization like the RNC who had accepted ANY money from a Texas corporation, but they didn’t.

The money was not simply being sent to the RNC and the same money being sent right back to “launder” the money and make otherwise illegal contributions appear legal. I may seem like I’m getting repetitive here, but people don’t seem to be getting it, so I’ll state once more that the corporate money was going to be used at the RNC for other purposes, and OTHER money that was legally usable in Texas was being sent back.

So the liberal Austin DA took a perfectly legitimate (and very common, by both parties) political fundraising technique and finally got an indictment by a 3rd grand jury in order to go to trial with a jury picked from the hyper-liberal Austin area to prosecute the arch-conservative Majority leader. Yeah, nothing politically motivated there. This is the very definition of the CRIMINALIZATION OF POLITICS. The inevitably biased and confused jury is then asked to become instant technical experts on political fundraising legalities and render a verdict on whether a common previously assumed (and arguably) legal practice is suddenly illegal. Then we send a politician to jail for it.

It is a travesty of justice and should be denounced by every conservative. Already, I see Huffington Post comments saying they need to start using this decision and style of political prosecutions to help neuter the RNC.

willamettevalley on January 11, 2011 at 4:00 PM

How is it legal to keep calling grand juries until you get the results that you want?

slickwillie2001 on January 11, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Like will Clinton.
Why did he get away with sexual harrassment of an intern in the White House?

Badger40

Because he didn’t sexually harass her. Duh.

xblade on January 11, 2011 at 4:08 PM

I would also repeat what others have stated, and that is that money laundering is by definition when you take illegally obtained money from a criminal enterprise (e.g., bootlegging) and launder the money by passing it through some kind of legal front business so the ultimate recipients of the money appear to have received it legally.

The money in question in Delay’s was not obtained from a criminal enterprise. It was not illegally laundered through a front group (in this case, the front group is alleged to be the RNC). It was done using hidden underhanded accounting tricks.

The money was obtained from voluntary donations by legal corporations. It was sent to one of the 2 major national political parties, not a shady front business. It was not laundered since the same money wasn’t sent back. It was openly reported as legally required in fundraising disclosures.

The laws against money laundering were meant to fight organized crime, not for political witchhunts.

willamettevalley on January 11, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Like will Clinton.
Why did he get away with sexual harrassment of an intern in the White House?

Badger40

Because he didn’t sexually harass her. Duh.

xblade on January 11, 2011 at 4:08 PM

He’s probably talking about Kathleen Willey, which did happen in the White House. The rape of Juanita Broaddrick happened in a Little Rock hotel room. The sexual assault of Paula Jones happened in a Little Rock hotel room as well.

Hard to keep track of all of them, I understand.

slickwillie2001 on January 11, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Because the bulk of the expulsions were expulsions of Southern sympathizers during the American Civil War, 19 of the 20 expulsions involved a member of the Democratic Party,

Hmmmmmm,

“19 of the 20 expulsions involved a member of the Democratic Party”

Purely a coincident, I’m sure. ;-)

E9RET on January 11, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Did you read your own quote? How are Southern sympathizers during the Civil War related to current Democrats? It was 150 years ago, the party platforms then and now have nothing to do with each other, and party affiliation has switched since then.

tneloms on January 11, 2011 at 5:04 PM

This is a criminal activity by the dems. No more. No less.

proconstitution on January 11, 2011 at 9:45 PM

THE JUDGE IN THIS TRILAL IS A DEM evil person.

proconstitution on January 11, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Did you read your own quote? How are Southern sympathizers during the Civil War related to current Democrats? It was 150 years ago, the party platforms then and now have nothing to do with each other, and party affiliation has switched since then.

tneloms on January 11, 2011 at 5:04 PM

The Democrats may have switched their tune now and then, but I for one believe that they have always stood for one thing–pandering to the basest desires of the voter, and not principle. Slavery? Sure, you can have your slaves. Oh, that didn’t work out. You want segregation, now? Sure, we can do that too. Oh, wait, now you’re angry about segregation and want to “get back” at whites for it? Why not, and we sure don’t care if it doesn’t actually advance race relations at all. What’s that? You want free abortions because you can’t keep your legs shut? Hey, come on down, we got your back. We’re the Democrats, after all, and no matter what era it is there is nothing we won’t do for a vote.

R. Waher on January 11, 2011 at 11:33 PM

When I see a headline that says Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, and Eric Holder have been given prison sentences, law and order will have been restored.

Rational Thought on January 11, 2011 at 10:24 AM

And Tom Daschle, Tim Geitner, pretty much half of Obama’s cabinet (or attempted cabinet) were tax cheats if you remember back at the beginning of his term.

scotash on January 12, 2011 at 1:03 PM