As we have heard so little recently about US politics, I thought it time to check on the progress of our favourite laundering American politician, Tom DeLay. I am sure you remember that back in 2010 he was found guilty of laundering illegal campaign donations. Once Majority Leader of the House (whose duties included scheduling the legislative calendar and managing all House committees), it was found that he had helped move US$190,000 from corporate donations in Texas to the Republican national committee and then back to Republican candidates for the state legislature in Texas in 2002. Under Texas law, funding of candidates by business is illegal – and so funnelling it through national headquarters to disguise the source was judged to be money laundering. And he was sentenced to three years in prison to be followed by ten years on probation.
It will not surprise you to hear that Mr DeLay appealed the verdicts and sentence. After much legal wrangling, an appeal was finally heard on 10 October 2012. And now we wait – as does Mr DeLay, who has been free on bail since his conviction. Frankly, I wonder whether he shouldn’t just have sucked up the punishment – his prison time would just about be done by now. But he has done more fun things while waiting. He took part in “Dancing with the Stars” (America’s version of “Strictly”), and if you have a strong stomach and a good sense of humour, you may like to take a look at his outfit. If that’s not worth three years in the slammer, nothing is.
Surprised he’s not on Death Row in Texas – for the outfit 🙂 I’m more surprised about the sentences handed out for a bit of jiggery pokery with political donations. Can’t get indignant over that. Fortunately Texas human traffickers are dealt with pretty severely as well. The trick, as ever, is to trace and prosecute http://www.polarisproject.org/state-map/texas
I think this is all part of the po-faced American response to standards in public life – as compared, say, to the attitude of the French (not for nothing did they invent the untranslatable phrase “laissez-faire”). French presidents can have mistresses and secret families, but the director of the CIA cannot – I suppose it all depends on whether you think that private moral standards are an indication of trustworthiness in public life.
Best wishes from Susan