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Posted at 7:30 PM ET, 11/24/2010

Tom 'The Hammer' DeLay is convicted of money laundering?

By Alexandra Petri

Tom Delay was just convicted of money laundering?

For years, I thought money laundering was something you did after you accidentally left $75,000 in your bra. But apparently not! For years, whenever I found a dollar in my pants after the wash, I would run off in terror to report it to the IRS. "This was in the pants when I got here!" I would explain. "You seem to need hobbies," they would respond.

Maybe Tom Delay should have tried that. But the jury decided that Mr. Delay was guilty of money laundering after his PAC money-swapped $190,000 worth of funds from corporations into the coffers of Texas state candidates. Now he faces up twenty years on one count and five years to life on the other. He has opted to be sentenced by a judge named Pat Priest, who I hope has not had to try any of the recent Vatican-related cases.

Still, this man has had a rough life. First, all the teasing he's had to undergo on account of the name -- "How can you expect government to move quickly with a leader named Tom Delay?" Do you know how you can tell that you have an unfortunate name? Because when someone decides to nickname you "The Hammer," you leap at the opportunity, viewing it as a step upwards.

If your nickname is "The Hammer," things don't usually end well for you. Judas, Hammer of the Maccabees? Deceased. MC Hammer? The only money laundering he does is if he leaves a monopoly dollar in his oversized trousers, this being the closest thing to actual money he has seen in over eight years. Rodgers and Hammerstein? They made good musicals, but they are both dead now. Maybe if Rodgers had stayed away from that Hammerstein fellow, he might not be! Also, I wouldn't have wandered around humming "Younger Than Springtime" for a full week, helpless to stop, in the process alienating all my childhood friends. (Sorry, Lucy!) It's impossible to predict these things.

And Hammerhead sharks are going extinct!

What's even worse is the unfortunate timing of it all. First, his lawyer accidentally introduced evidence that showed he had met with the man who received the troublesome check for $190,000 in question! Now, he faces 5 years to life in prison on one count! That is definitely the worst thing to happen to a Dancing with the Stars contestant.

He says he didn't pay much attention to his PAC. That makes sense. Clearly, he didn't pay attention to the PAC, or he would have given it a more dynamic name than Delay PAC, a name like Hammer PAC or PAC MAN. (Dibs on that name if I ever run for office. Also, on Mrs. PAC Man.)

But face life in prison for funneling money from corporations to candidates, as though Citizens United had never happened? Sure, it's illegal in Texas, but so are a lot of things! The statement that "Everything's bigger in Texas" includes the body of legal restrictions. All I can say is, it seems harsh. If he'd only waited eight more years -- but when all you have is the Hammer, everything starts to look like -- well, something or other.

By Alexandra Petri  | November 24, 2010; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Petri, Worst Things Ever  | Tags:  Tom Delay, turkey  
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Those who once were mighty fall one more time. You could almost feel sorry for them, if they had not been such arrogant, unforgiving, and unfeeling twerps when they were on top of the world.

Neither party is free of the corrupt, as the Tea party will soon demonstrate. Count on it. History does not lie.

Posted by: samsara15 | November 24, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

To the contrary, Ms.Petri! If you knew anything about the State of Texas, you would know that we really, really need the largest body of legal restrictions that we can develop. For self protection! You see, we Texans, due to the very large proportion of narcissist residing in our state, have a delightful time in both developing political scoundrels as well as cutting them down to size. The 'Wild' part of the West has lingered long in Texas

Posted by: jamesls | November 25, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

See representative Boehner. One 'smooth operator'. ... Like most of the totally crooked, present day GOP.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | November 25, 2010 1:57 AM | Report abuse

It seems like those good old fashioned, real American Conservative values really served Texas proud cuz the Hammer now faces getting nailed in jail. Justice served.

Posted by: AverageJane | November 25, 2010 2:09 AM | Report abuse

A capo in the Bush Crime Family goes down. Two felonies? No more voting, no more guns, no more 'normal' for the crook. Maybe if he gives up the goods on other members of the Criminal Enterprise, he won't do so much time. Hey Tommy D.!! Try on this one piece track suit.

Posted by: thebobbob | November 25, 2010 2:09 AM | Report abuse

You can make fun of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s last name all you want, but he still has a better name than the man who held that position before him. Of course, I’m referring Dick Armey, currently the leader of an entire army of Tea Party “Little Dicks”.

You can’t call it money laundering just because it comes out of the washer clean. It has to be money that you don’t deserve to have for any legitimate reason. Apparently, prosecutors are considering filing new charges for money DeLay gave to his lawyer.

As you pointed out, it’s ironic that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are “people” who are now allowed to give dirty money directly to candidates without laundering it first.

But under Texas law, DeLay’s corporate co-conspirators are just as guilty as he is, and they will also go to prison. Knowing what corporations normally do to people, DeLay should watch his back in the prison showers! (so they don’t “nail” the “Hammer”)

Posted by: divtune | November 25, 2010 3:15 AM | Report abuse

I didn't see that AverageJane wrote:

the Hammer now faces getting nailed in jail.

So I wrote:

DeLay should watch his back in the prison showers! (so they don’t “nail” the “Hammer”)

So I say:

Great minds think alike!

Posted by: divtune | November 25, 2010 3:24 AM | Report abuse

The courts will decide the faith of the Hammer. I really like the prosecutors comments that "no one is above the law". Which I totally agree with. If you do the crime then you do the time. Here's my problem. You got Charley (the Hustler) Rangel that will be censured - here he is up in Harlem passing out turkey's to "his" people. Will the House Ethics Commission pass his file over to the DOJ and IRS for their review or will he keep passing out turkey's like he always does? Oh, the turkey's were donated by a local grocery store. Rangel didn't put out a dime to help "his" people. Sorry Charley it's time for you to pay up. If everyone is clapping their hands over the Hammer, let's see if the The Hustler gets his just rewards. I doubt it!!!!

Posted by: Loadmaster | November 25, 2010 4:09 AM | Report abuse


I can remember a lot of 1 and 2:00 a.m. votes to defeat Democrats amendments or wear them out; I can remember Tom Delay crying alligator tears over Terri Schiavo, whose personal life and decisions he was determined to make the Federal Government's own; I can remember a lot of heartless bills and laws, the massive debt he helped accumulate, the corrupt standards he helped perpetuate...

No tears here.

Posted by: dutchess2 | November 25, 2010 4:22 AM | Report abuse

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Just wait until the courts have the opportunity to prosecute his disciples! What goes round, comes round.

Posted by: bloommarko4 | November 25, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Tom DeLay convicted. There is a God, and what is more amazing, he was willing to show
his face within the borders of Texas.

Posted by: rpewing | November 25, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I love the conviction, but I wish it had been charged by anyone other than the corrupt Austin District Attorney's office.

Posted by: GordonShumway | November 25, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Sounds as if he will got off...Is this just an old fashioned good ole white boy thang?

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | November 25, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I should like to think that this is very sweet, indeed. DeLay deserves incarceration for his miscreant behaviour. Further, he had better watch his back for, if he does not, he will certainly be nailed. He should not, under any circumstance, receive a pardon from any source.

Posted by: prokofiev85 | November 25, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The conviction couldn't have happened to a better corporatist traitor to this country.

Posted by: dwdave67 | November 25, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

DeLay will appeal to the Texas Supreme Court which has a long history of kind decisions to Republicans while willing to execute anybody. This has taken a long time to come to trial and I hope that justice will be served. As for Rangel there is no connection between the two cases and if he broke a law and not just violated ethics he should be prosecuted. I will point out the IRS has a long record of allowing people to clean up past unpaid taxes, like Sarah Palin who had a raft of unpaid taxes, unless they have some clear proof of deliberate evasion so it would be different treatment if he cleaned up those taxes and they go after him.

Posted by: withersb | November 25, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The time served is a mute point the defense already won by de-laying the verdict till after the elections.

Posted by: ohwell | November 25, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Stick to news reporting and avoid these awful attempts at humor writing. Seriously, this "piece" was just digital ink garbage.

Posted by: 8stringfan | November 25, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

where is your coverage of last week's conviction of democrat poverty pimp and black racist Charlie Rangel on 11 counts of tax evasion?

Posted by: carlbatey | November 25, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

where is your coverage of last week's conviction of democrat poverty pimp and black racist Charlie Rangel on 11 counts of tax evasion?

Posted by: carlbatey | November 25, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Well at least the fellas in the crowbar hotel know he can shake his fanny. And it's a perfect chance for Obama to continue to prove he's a GOP plant: pardon Tom Delay! Give him the Medal of Freedom, like Bush!


Delay is an exactly perfect example of GOP koolaid slime, it was STUNNING to see him get work on TV because it proved that Americans are almost completely without self respect or political conscience. I'd suspect Hitler or Ken Lay could get top rated TV shows and have Hollywood agents waiting with deals, in America. All the things young people said in the 60's & 70's, about America being a vile commercial hole, are true.


My respect for Nancy Pelosi began with her standing up to The Hammer at the peak of his power. I recall her saying, "I'm not afraid of Mr Delay," and I've liked her since.

Posted by: AIPACiswar | November 25, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

carlbatey = another pissy, whiney teabagger, crying foul when things don't go their way.

Rangel & Waters have nothing to do with this verdict (Note that the case against Waters has been dropped! And ol' Charlie wasn't a deliberate scoundrel like Delay, just incompetent). Now the baggers will complain about the jury, good Texans all agreed to by Delay's lawyers, being commies!

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | November 25, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

where is your coverage of last week's conviction of democrat poverty pimp and black racist Charlie Rangel on 11 counts of tax evasion?

Posted by: carlbatey | November 25, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse


First off, the Wapo provided far more coverage of Rangel than DeLay. Secondly, DeLay is the only one who was convicted of a felony in a criminal court. The House Ethics Committee recommended a censure of Rangel to the full House.

Suggest you pay attention to the facts next time.

Posted by: maggots | November 25, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like you're suggesting that we all should go out and celebrate Tommy's ability to bribe, launder money and continue the fine texas tradition of trying to be the biggest political criminal in the south without getting caught? Really???

I spoke to Tyrone at SuperMax out in Colorado yesterday.. Primarily to let him know that he would be getting a new cellmate, nicknamed "hammer", after the first of the year... He was pleased.. He chuckled about the nickname but turned real serious when he started about tommy's future....HAR...HAR....HAR...

How would you feel after a couple of years in SuperMax when Jack Abramoff is your only visitor.....tee...hee

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | November 25, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

DeLay will not serve 1 minute in jail, mark my words. It's a dirty game that EVERY politician plays.

Posted by: Jsuf | November 25, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Ok so DeLay funneled corporate contributions to campaign races?? Great, all politicians do it on both sides of the aisle. Lets talk about Wrangle for a minute. I don't really care about the tax evasion charges, but find his use of government funded housing for a campaign office to be despicable. Since the majority of his constituents are impoverished, I can't believe that there wasn't an uproar of disdain for his actions. He took away housing from a family that could have used it.

Posted by: Jsuf | November 25, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

If he had only waited until bribed his judge,is that what you said????

Posted by: justmehla | November 25, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

All is not lost;
Rep. Barton apologized to DeLay for being convicted on money laundering charges.

Posted by: knjincvc | November 25, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Rick Perry will pardon the turkey.

Posted by: blarsen1 | November 25, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ms. Petri. Sad that none of the media is picking up on the real "coda" of this story. That is, as this blog post finally notes, that as scummy as DeLay was for doing this John Roberts and the conservative Supreme Court has now rendered that kind of corruption superfluous in the future.

Now that Roberts put the U.S. Government up for auction on eBay, corporations can just buy up whatever parts of our government they want. DeLay was just ahead of his time in terms of fascist corporatist Republican corruption. John Roberts is picking up the rear.

By the way, when do we start impeaching the CURRENT wretch who is doing this, Justice Roberts? CONTACT YOUR CONGRESS CRITTERS AND TELL THEM TO SUPPORT THE "DISCLOSE" ACT PEOPLE. If you really give a darn about your country anymore.

Posted by: B2O2 | November 25, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Tom Delay deserves every bad thing that comes his way. I feel no pity for this man.

Posted by: kimL1 | November 25, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Tom Delay is the worst of the worst, mainly because he misuses religion. How could a man so vile continue to talk about God being the center of his life. The center of his life is MONEY!

Posted by: donaldeasley | November 25, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

SWEET!! HAPPY DAY! So there IS still a little justice left in America!

I am thankful for prosecutor Ronnie Earle for getting that corrupt sleazeball Tom DeLay convicted of money laundering... in Texas, no less!

Thank you, Mr. Earle, you are truly an American hero!

ERIC HOLDER, THIS IS HOW IT'S DONE! There are still plenty of Bush administration thugs out there needing the same treatment!

Learn all about the corrupt jackal "Hot Tub Tom" DeLay, and his buddy Jack Abramoff, in the excellent documentary “Capitol Crimes” at:

I hope that DeLay looks better in orange than John Boehner!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | November 25, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I am not happy saying this but I agree with Jsuf that Delay will not serve any time. It is the great Republican state of Texas afterall and justice is rigged in his favor.

Posted by: Falmouth1 | November 30, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

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