The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

54° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

DeLay conviction a tribute to justice system

Former Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay became a convicted felon last week. The 2009 “”Dancing with the Stars”” contestant will cha-cha his way to federal prison after his sentencing on Dec. 20.

The second-most powerful Texan in Washington prior to his resignation, DeLay’s heavy-handed retribution against those within his party who did not blindly support the Bush administration’s agenda earned him the nickname “”The Hammer.””

In 2005, he was indicted by a Texas grand jury on felony conspiracy charges, accused of illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate donations to seven Republican state house candidates using his political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority.

The money enabled the GOP to gain control of the Texas House of Representatives, allowing the legislature to push through a DeLay-engineered congressional redistricting plan.

The redrawn districts sent more Texas Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004, which increased DeLay’s power as House majority leader.

The indictment has haunted DeLay for nearly half a decade. He continues to fervently deny the allegations, and appeared on ABC‘s “”Dancing with the Stars”” in an embarrassing attempt to repair his image.

Last week, The Hammer was finally nailed when a Texas jury convicted him of money laundering, a verdict which could land him up to 99 years in federal prison, a veritable life sentence for the 63-year-old.

DeLay’s attorneys maintain his innocence, claiming that much of the evidence used by the prosecution to convict their client was merely circumstantial and did not directly implicate him in any wrongdoing.

“”It’s all smoke and no fire,”” said DeLay’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin.

But given DeLay’s extensive rap sheet, it’s hard to believe the allegations against him are baseless. His political career was mired in scandal.

DeLay’s ties to the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his involvement in the K Street Project, an initiative by the Republican Party to ensure top lobbying positions were given exclusively to Republicans, prove that he was nothing more than a corporate-bought politician concerned only with preserving the GOP’s power.

Conservatives outraged by the verdict have invoked the controversial acquittal of Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Ghailani as proof that DeLay’s conviction was a “”miscarriage of justice,”” but this argument doesn’t hold water.

Incriminating evidence in Ghailani’s case was thrown out on the basis that it was procured illegally through enhanced interrogation methods, which is why he was acquitted on 284 of 285 counts of conspiracy and murder.

DeLay wasn’t tortured. The evidence used to convict him may have been circumstantial, but it was obtained legally.

And for those who maintain Ghailani’s guilt, if they truly believe evidence gathered illegally through torture should be admissible in court, would they have objected to DeLay’s conviction had he been waterboarded by police interrogators and forced to confess? Surely anything DeLay admitted to while being deprived of oxygen would be reliable?

The idea that DeLay’s conviction was politically motivated or that the circumstantial evidence used to convict him was not probative is, quite frankly, absurd.

DeLay got what he deserved. His conviction is not a miscarriage of justice but a testament to the fact that our justice system will at least hold some people accountable for their actions some of the time.

Federal prison will be a ball in comparison to the five years of litigation DeLay has had to endure. Being locked in a jail cell will allow him to work on his dance moves. He should have no problem entertaining his fellow inmates.

— Nyles Kendall is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

More to Discover
Activate Search