Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s conviction for money laundering in a state court here could inspire prosecutors in other states to target the methods used by politicians to raise and deploy corporate contributions.
A jury on Wednesday found Mr. DeLay knowingly funneled $190,000 in corporate donations to fellow Republicans running for the Texas Legislature in 2002, violating state laws that ban companies from contributing to candidates’ campaigns.
The outcome will likely reverberate throughout the other 22 states with similar bans on corporate contributions, discouraging politicians from employing similar techniques and emboldening prosecutors to go after them using the same strategy, some legal experts say.
His lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said he would appeal the conviction, which the jury reached after 19 hours of deliberation. If the judge hands down a sentence of less than 10 years, Mr. DeLay would be eligible to stay out of prison on bond while he appeals.
The Republican Party has changed, both in Washington and in Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry has become the face of the party and is seen as a potential presidential candidate. Mr. Perry appeals to the anti-incumbent, outside-the-Beltway wing of the party, while Mr. DeLay, who represented a suburban Houston district, served 22 years in the U.S. House.
Judges will make the final decision on Delays performance.