Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

Round 3 Begins for DeLay Contribution Scheme


Although his two top lieutenants pleaded guilty to a 2001 contribution scheme, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, had his conviction reversed Thursday by a party-line vote of three-judge panel from the Third District Court of Appeals, but prosecutors announced they would appeal to the full Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

DeLay was found guilty in November 2010 of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering by moving corporate funds to Texas candidates in 2002. The jury found DeLay was part of a scheme to use a Texas PAC to collect 190,000 in corporate funds, send them to the Republican National State Elections Committee, a Section 527 account, which shortly thereafter sent checks to seven Texas House candidates, who were not permitted to receive corporate contributions. John Colyandro and Jim Ellis were part of the scheme.

Jim Ellis pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making an illegal contribution during the 2002 election. Colyandro, executive director of a Texas PAC, Texans for a Republican Majority, pleaded guilty to lesser charges of accepting illegal political contributions.

A scheme to move certain kinds of money into a large melting pot of other political money from different sources is a common practice in Washington, D.C. After mixing the funds and simmering for awhile, some money is poured out to certain candidates or organizations, with the exact identity of the original source thoroughly blurred. In some cases, however, there may be documents or participants who admit to the scheme.

To search detailed money-in-politics databases, visit Political MoneyLine.

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