Justice DeLayed, Again (And Again)

Tom DeLay | US Government photo.

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The Justice Department has chosen not to prosecute Jack Abramoff associate and former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the ex-congressman’s attorney said Friday.

Here’s a quick refresher on the gerrymandering, permanent majority-building, bug-zapping, Clinton-impeaching, samba-dancing, power-buying, Texas Republican’s misdeeds. In brief: DeLay was indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges in 2005 for allegedly conspiring to launder corporate money during the 2002 elections in an effort to guarantee a GOP majority in the Texas State House. (That case is still pending.)* His ties with Abramoff were the focus of a six-year-long investigation by federal authorities that is now apparently closed.

Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), responds to the news: 

It’s a sad day for America when one of the most corrupt members to ever walk the halls of Congress gets a free pass. As we continue the work of building a Washington that is worthy of the American people, the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Mr. DeLay for his actions sends exactly the wrong message to current and future members. The fact that Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney (R-OH) are the only two people who went to prison for one of the worst corruption scandals in congressional history is shocking. The Hammer belongs in the slammer. Mr. DeLay still has crimes to answer for in Texas—generally not considered the best place to be a criminal defendant.

Why does this matter? Because thanks to upcoming gubernatorial elections and the 2010 census, redistricting is back on the political menu for next year (though his indictment for the Texas campaign finance charges is a separate, still pending case). Sloan’s “wrong message”—that opportunistic power grabbers around the country need take no heed and fear no retribution for artless political engineering—is that politics continues. As usual.

* This post has been edited since it was first published.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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