Justice DeLayed, Again (And Again)

Tom DeLay | US Government photo.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


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.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate