Former House Leader DeLay’s Money Laundering Conviction Overturned

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Carolyn Kaster / AP

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay smiles as he leaves a lunch meeting on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, in Washington.

Former Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay’s money laundering conviction was overturned by a Texas appeals court Thursday.

In a 2-1 ruling, the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals reversed a trial court decision against the once powerful politician in a 22-page opinion, citing insufficient evidence.

DeLay was found guilty in 2010 of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in engineering an allegedly illegal operation to funnel corporate cash to Texas political candidates via the Republic National Committee in 2002.

DeLay allegedly used his political action committee to issue a check for $190,000 to the RNC, which then allocated the corporate money to seven House candidates. State law prohibits corporations from giving money directly to political campaigns.

Prosecutors argued that the cash boosted GOP elections, enabling the party to take control of the Texas House in order to pass a congressional redistricting plan that resulted in more Congressional Republicans in 2004. DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison, but his sentence was suspended while his case moved through the appellate process.

The appeals court ruling said the prosecution “failed in its burden to prove that the funds that were delivered to the seven candidates were ever tainted.”