Politics

Tom DeLay Convicted, Faces Lengthy Prison Term

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Former House majority leader Tom DeLay has been convicted of campaign-related money laundering and could get up to 99 years in prison.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The man once known as The Hammer for his leadership style among House Republicans could now find himself in prison. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was convicted of conspiracy and money laundering by a Texas jury last night. Matt Largey of member station KUT in Austin reports.

MATT LARGEY: DeLay faces up to 99 years in prison for the crimes, which stem from a money swap from his political action committee to candidates for the Texas legislature in 2002. A hundred and ninety thousand dollars in corporate donations was sent to the Republican National Committee. The same amount was then transferred from the RNC to seven Texas candidates.

Prosecutors called it an end-run around the state ban on corporate campaign donations. DeLay made it clear he intends to fight the conviction.

Former Representative TOM DELAY (Republican, Texas): I still maintain that I am innocent, that the criminalization of politics undermines our very system, and I'm very disappointed in the outcome.

LARGEY: DeLay will be sentenced next month.

For NPR News, I'm Matt Largey in Austin.

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