Mr. DeLay was targeted in the Democrats' 2006 "culture of corruption" campaign that helped sweep Republicans from power. Federal investigators looked at Mr. DeLay's ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who served four years in prison on charges of defrauding Indian tribes and using trips and other gifts to reward political favors. Two of Mr. DeLay's aides pleaded guilty to charges related to the Abramoff probe, and authorities investigated allegations that Mr. DeLay took trips, gifts and other donations in exchange for helping Abramoff clients.
If DeLay will not be prosecuted in the Abramoff case, it seems safe to say that all Bush-era scoundrels are safe under the Obama DOJ. The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)finds that prospect appalling. Reports TPM Muckraker:
"It's a sad day for America when one of the most corrupt members to ever walk the halls of Congress gets a free pass," Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement.
"As we continue the work of building a Washington that is worthy of the American people, the Justice Department's decision not to prosecute Mr. DeLay for his actions sends exactly the wrong message to current and future members," Sloan said.
"The fact that Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney (R-OH) are the only two people who went to prison for one of the worst corruption scandals in congressional history is shocking," Sloan said.
"The Hammer belongs in the slammer. Mr. DeLay still has crimes to answer for in Texas --generally not considered the best place to be a criminal defendant."
Indeed, DeLay is not out of the criminal woods. Reports The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. DeLay remains in trouble over a separate matter in Texas state court, where he has been charged with failing to report certain political donations. Mr. DeLay says he committed no wrongdoing in the state case, for which a trial is set to begin as soon as next week, and in a conference call with reporters criticized what he called the "criminalization of politics."
But in the "look forward, not backward" world of the Obama DOJ, Tom DeLay has nothing to worry about. And that probably goes for other Bush-era scoundrels, as well.
More "change we can believe in."