Earlier today (Monday, January 10, 2011), Texas Judge Pat Priest ordered former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to serve three years in prison for his role in a scheme to illegally funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. He also sentenced him to five years in prison on the money laundering charge but allowed DeLay to accept 10 years of probation instead of more prison time.
After a month-long trial in November, a jury determined that DeLay conspired with two associates to use his Texas-based political action committee to send $190,000 in corporate money to an arm of the Washington-based Republican National Committee.
The money helped Republicans take control of the Texas House. That enabled the Republican majority to push through a Delay-engineered congressional redistricting plan that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004, strengthening DeLay’s political power.
DeLay will be allowed to post a $10,000 bond pending appeal.
Most amusing was the testimony of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who testified that DeLay was not motivated by power but for a need to help others and about DeLay’s conservative and religious values.
Showing no remorse whatsoever, DeLay continued to insist that the charges were politically motivated.
Will the appellate courts agree with the jury and the judge’s sentencing? Will DeLay serve the prison time? We can only hope. After all, this IS Texas.
Longmont Councilmember Gabe Santos worked for Tom DeLay during a portion of his stint as Republican House Majority Whip.