Southern Religion

Southern Baptist culture warrior Tom DeLay convicted of money laundering and conspiracy

Once the Christian Right’s most reliable Congressional culture warrior, former Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay was found guilty Wednesday by a Texas jury “of one charge of laundering corporate money into political donations and one charge of conspiracy.”

Leaders of the Christian Right rallied to him when he was indicted on Sept. 26, 2006. For example, Brian Kaylor wrote for the Baptist Center for Ethics publication Ethics Daily:

[The late] Jerry Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University compared the indictment of DeLay to President Richard Nixon’s “vicious” attacks on his political enemies, and argued that DeLay “is the target of an ugly political witch hunt.”

Falwell also wrote: “While the dogs continue to yap at his heels, I hope that Rep. DeLay can get past the nasty politics that have seemingly brought him to this point. And I pray that he can quickly prove his innocence and get back to work as one of our eminent political leaders.”

DeLay, apparently still a member of Second Baptist Church in Houston, echoed those sentiments and others like them following his conviction. He described himself as “innocent” and said “This is an abuse of power, and it is a miscarriage of justice.”

Yet the evidence him was at the end compelling. Perhaps most dramatically among widely publicized disclosures, at one point, during taped negotiations with prosecutors, DeLay admitted prior knowledge that a staff member was going to commit one of the crimes of which he (DeLay) was accused:

DeLay told prosecutors that he knew that Jim Ellis, DeLay’s chief political aide in Washington, was going to exchange 190,000 dollars of corporate money for campaign donations from the Republican National Committee.

“Jim Ellis told me he was going to do it,” DeLay said. “Before he did it?” prosecutors asked. “Uh-huh,” DeLay answered.

USA Today’s Catalina Camia reports that as a result of the jury verdict:

DeLay, a former No. 2 House GOP leader, faces five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on the money laundering charge.

The hammer has fallen.


DeLay will remain free on bond until he is sentenced Dec. 20, reported the Austin American-Statesman:

[District Judge Pat ] Priest allowed DeLay to remain free on bond until sentencing, which is set for Dec. 20. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said no decision had been made on whether prosecutors would recommend prison time or probation for DeLay.

Yes, DeLay’s attorney is talking about filing an appeal.

November 25, 2010 - Posted by | Crime, Politics, Religion | ,


  1. Do you think Richard Land will find time to visit Delay in prison. He hasn’t seen fit to visit a black Baptist church in Washington,D.C. yet.

    Comment by Jack Wolford | November 25, 2010

  2. To these right wing MOFOs who creamed their pants for weeks over Jame’s O’Keefe’s hacked-Acorn video, Can we expect the same amount of coverage from you and Fox News over Tom Delay’s conviction? Or was it unfair and unjust that he get convicted by a jury of his peers because his goal of electing Republicans was so noble?

    Comment by Name: Mark | November 26, 2010

  3. Tom has a pastor who opposes biblical theology. Tom goes to Second Baptist Church (they say), and worse than being unethical with money, he would have to tolerate a pastor who is unethical with doctrine:

    Comment by Steve Rices | November 28, 2010

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