They say justice delayed is justice denied.
But in the case of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, we’ll take it.
Last week his bogus, politically motivated, money-laundering conviction was overturned by the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals after three long, torturous years.
Tom DeLay is one of the most decent and reputable men to have ever served in the Congress. I was elated to hear that this cloud over his character has finally been removed. As DeLay quipped, he’s just thrilled he can get his concealed carry permit back. That’ what I have always admired about DeLay – he’s got his priorities straight.
What was this conviction all about in the first place?
In November of 2010, in the midst of a heated midterm election, he was found guilty of transferring $190,000 in corporate money via the Republican National Committee to help elect GOP candidates to the Texas Legislature in 2002. What’s wrong with that? State law prohibits corporations from giving directly to political candidates and their campaigns. But, wait a minute! The donations didn’t go directly. Exactly.
This was never about Tom DeLay attempting to enrich himself. This was about paperwork. And as the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals recognized, “the evidence shows that the defendants were attempting to comply with the election code limitations on corporate contributions.”
DeLay rightly called the original trial and verdict the “criminalization of politics.” The sentence called for him to serve eight years in prison. While he was forced to step down from his congressional seat by the accusations that brought him unjustly under a cloud back in 2006, he avoided prison while the case was on appeal. That’s why you should never give up, never surrender – and Tom DeLay didn’t.
In fact, he wrote a book called “Never Retreat, Never Surrender.” Good thing he took his own advice.
Now Tom DeLay, at 67, can at least get his life back.
But who will be next?
That’s a question we shouldn’t have to ask as citizens of the United States of America. Yet, sadly, we do. The specter of political show-trials is a reality in America today. If you buck the establishment, as DeLay surely did, you will pay a price. You will have people gunning for you.
Politics is supposed to be serious business. But it shouldn’t be an excuse to ruin people’s lives. Being successful at the art of politics shouldn’t set you up to be incarcerated. It shouldn’t be a crime to be an effective advocate of conservative causes. And that was Tom DeLay’s only real “offense.”
Isn’t that a sad commentary on the state of American politics?
Isn’t it awful that people with sincere convictions are forced to look over their shoulders wondering what their political adversaries might be planning for them?
It’s one thing to defeat people running for office. That’s normal. That’s healthy. That’s what representative government is all about. But when it gets this mean – when people want to throw you in prison to get rid of you – something has gone very wrong with the political process in America.
Even his conviction didn’t deter him from fighting for causes in which he believed. While appealing the conviction, Tom DeLay was very active in tea-party politics. The experience and expertise he gained from his years in Congress was invaluable for the less experienced, grass-roots activists.
What’s next for Tom DeLay?
I’m sure we’ll hear much more from him.
His leadership and skills are needed more than ever.
It will be good to have him back in the fight whatever he chooses to do.