DeLay Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Posted January 10, 2011 at 2:50pm

A Texas judge sentenced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) to a three-year prison term Monday for his role in a scheme that violated the state’s campaign finance laws and funneled corporate funds to candidates in 2002, the Associated Press reported.

A jury convicted DeLay in late November on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He is expected to appeal.

DeLay was accused under a 2005 indictment of illegally funneling to state candidates $190,000 in corporate money collected by his state political action committee through the Republican National Committee in 2002. State laws prohibit such funds from being used for political campaigns.

DeLay denied wrongdoing in the case. The AP reported that his attorney had sought probation, rather than a prison term.

Texas Judge Pat Priest could have sentenced DeLay to life in prison. Instead, DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison on the conspiracy charge and 10 years of probation on the money-laundering charge, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

During Monday’s hearing, former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) testified on DeLay’s behalf, the AP reported.

DeLay was elected to the House in 1984 and served as Majority Leader in the 108th and 109th Congresses. He resigned from office in June 2006, and he later founded the consulting firm First Principles, which is based in Sugar Land, Texas.