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DeLay’s Fate is a Cautionary Tale for House GOP Leaders -- and Democrats

WASHINGTON - The fall of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay,
sentenced Monday to three years in prison for his role in a political
money-laundering operation, is a well-timed warning to the House’s new
GOP leaders – and Democrats too – about what can happen when lawmakers
put themselves and their pursuit of power above the law.

DeLay, once known in Washington as “the Hammer,” was the Capitol’s
foremost practitioner of scorched-earth politics before scandals forced
him into retirement in 2006. He continues to insist there was nothing
improper about his involvement in a scheme to funnel corporate
contributions to Republican candidates in his home state of Texas, where
corporate campaign spending is illegal.

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“Mr. DeLay argues that many people in politics move money around as he
did to skirt campaign finance laws and that they get away with it,” said
Bob Edgar, Common Cause’s president. “He has a point, but the judge and
jury have properly answered it by insisting that the law be enforced.

“The new Republican-led House has a chance to show that it’s learned the
lesson of the DeLay era,” Edgar said. “Its leaders should take a fresh
look at proposals like the DISCLOSE Act and the Fair Elections Now Act,
which would bring greater transparency to campaign finance and reduce
candidates’ dependence on corporate and other special interest
donations.”

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Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.

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