Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Tom DeLay argues innocence in visit to the Center

January 17, 2011 by Robin Morris


In July, 2007 Tom DeLay visited the National Constitution Center to talk with the National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru about politics, grand juries, Jack Abramoff and the Constitution. With his recent sentencing and appeal, it seems time to revisit the program.

Tom Delay podcast

Listen to "The Hammer" when he visited the Center in 2007 [link].

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was one of the most powerful Congressional figures since Lyndon B. Johnson. Before entering politics, DeLay was a businessman in Texas. He served in the Texas State House and in 1984 he won a seat in the U.S. Congress. A self-described “free market nut and a social conservative” he was also committed to the “politics of the possible.”

In practice that meant as a social conservative he was at the forefront of the effort to keep Terri Schiano on life support and in practicing the “politics of the possible,” he led the effort to pass the Medicare prescription drug law in 2003.

DeLay gained power, moving up the ladder to the highest levels of power in the Republican caucus, first serving as House Majority Whip and later as House Majority Leader.

In 2006, DeLay resigned from Congress because of money laundering charges.

In January 2011 he was sentenced to three years in prison "for his role in a scheme to illegally funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002" according to the Associated Press. During his visit to the Center in 2007, DeLay strongly argued for his innocence and against what he called the criminalization of politics.

According to DeLay, the “abomination of justice” against him had roots in both political parties. As he said, “[Ronnie Earle] used six grand juries to indict me…on laws that don’t exist in Texas.” He went on to say, “The Republicans, not the Democrats, have a rule in their own caucus, that if a leader was indicted he had to temporarily step aside. That was their goal, to get me indicted.”

To hear "The Hammer" make his defense, listen to the podcast.


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