Tom DeLay sentenced to three years in prison

Judge Pat Priest has sentenced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to three years in prison on the conspiracy charge he was convicted of in November.  Delay was also sentenced to five years in prison on the money laundering conviction but Judge Priest allowed DeLay to accept 10 years of probation instead of more prison time.

He is expected to appeal and the judge set a $10,000 bond, which means DeLay will likely be a free man until his appeal is complete.

The convictions stem from the 2002 Texas state house elections, when DeLay’s state PAC collected $190,000 in corporate donations and sent the money to the Republican National Committee. The RNC then sent a total of $190,000 to seven Republican state house candidates hand-picked by DeLay’s PAC.

Under Texas law, it is illegal for candidates to use corporate money — raised directly or indirectly — for their campaigns.

Public Citizen wants to acknowledge the work done by Craig McDonald, the director of Texans for Public Justice and former director of the Texas office of Public Citizen.  His work on tracking the money was key to the initial investigation of Delay and his PAC.