The announcement of Harriet Miers as Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court yesterday pushed news of additional indictments of Representative Tom DeLay (R-TX) to the background. Less than one week after being indicted by a Texas grand jury on criminal conspiracy charges, DeLay was indicted by a different grand jury yesterday on two more serious money laundering charges. Under the new charges, DeLay could face up to 20 years of prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering and up to life in prison for money laundering, in addition to up to two years in prison for the previous charge of conspiracy to violate the election code. DeLay has already had to relinquish his position as majority leader in the House of Representatives because of the scandal.
The indictment accuses DeLay and several associates of laundering $190,000 of corporate contributions through the Republican National Committee, which then redistributed the money to candidates in Texas legislative races. Corporate contributions are prohibited in Texas state races. Although DeLay claims to have been unaware of these transactions at the time, Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, told the Washington Post, “For a new grand jury to indict DeLay on a day’s notice suggests the evidence of his participation is convincing.”