DeLay ‘knew this day would come’Aug 16th, 2010 | By politicsnews | Category: Politics
After almost six years of investigation, the Justice Department has decided not to bring corruption charges against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay over his involvement with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and other ethics issues, DeLay and his attorneys said Monday.
“I always knew this day would come. My only hope was that it would come much sooner than the six years we’ve been doing this,” DeLay said Monday during a conference call with reporters. “While I will never understand why it took so long for the Justice Department to conclude that I was innocent, I am nevertheless pleased that they have made their determination.”
The investigation lasted through two presidents and four attorneys general. Federal prosecutors’ decision not to pursue the Texas Republican in court provides a stark footnote to the lobbying scandals that helped Democrats in 2006 regain the House majority they lost in the “Republican revolution” of 1994. That GOP sweep, during former President Bill Clinton’s first term, eventually made the pugnacious DeLay — nicknamed “The Hammer” — one of Washington’s top power brokers.
DeLay vigorously defended his conduct and insisted that the flurry of inquiries that drove him from office were entirely the product of his political enemies.
“The new politics is, it’s no longer good enough to beat you on policy, they have to completely drown you and put you in prison and destroy your family and your reputation [and] your finances and, then, dance on your grave,” DeLay said. “I hope that people will look at my case and decide that the criminalization of politics and the politics of personal is not beneficial to the country and our system, and hopefully it will stop.”
DeLay said he cooperated fully with the Justice Department inquiry by providing more than 1,000 pages of documents and e-mails to investigators, but prosecutors never talked to him. “The case was so weak that I was never interviewed by the investigators, nor was I asked to appear before the grand jury,” DeLay said.
Abramoff pled guilty to at least five felony counts relating to fraud and corrupt dealings with public officials and was sentenced to more than five years in prison. In all, 20 people have pleaded guilty or have been convicted in connection with the Justice Department’s Abramoff probe, which began under the Bush administration.
Two of those convicted, Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon, were once senior aides to DeLay. However, DeLay insisted Monday that all of his dealings with Abramoff were above board.
“Abramoff is a friend of mine just as other lobbyists are friends of mine. We worked together professionally,” the former majority leader said. “He never asked me to do anything untoward, nor did I do anything untoward or unethical.”