|Birth Day:||April 8, 1947|
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From 1998–2002, ASG paid Christine DeLay (Tom DeLay's wife) a monthly salary averaging between $3,200 and $3,400. DeLay's attorney, Richard Cullen, initially said the payments were for telephone calls she made periodically to the offices of certain members of Congress seeking the names of their favorite charities, and that she then forwarded that information to Buckham, along with some information about those charities. In early June 2006, Cullen said the payments were also for general political consulting she provided to her husband. In all, Christine DeLay was paid about $115,000 directly by ASG, and got another $25,000 via money put into a retirement account by the firm. Her work with ASG has been the subject of an inquiry by the Department of Justice.
He graduated from the University of Houston in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology; he obtained student deferments to avoid service in the Vietnam War.
DeLay married Christine Furrh, whom he had known since high school, in 1967. In 1972, the DeLays had a daughter, Danielle, who is now a public school math teacher.
DeLay was born in Laredo, Texas, one of three sons of Maxine Evelyn (née Wimbish) and Charles Ray DeLay. He spent most of his childhood in Venezuela due to his father's work in the petroleum and natural gas industry. He attended Calallen High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he both played football and was the lead dancer in school productions. He attended Baylor University for two years, majoring in pre-med, but was expelled for drinking and painting Baylor school colors on a building at rival Texas A&M University. The Washington Post reported that DeLay obtained student deferments from military service while in college and that he received a high draft lottery number in 1969 which ensured that he would not be drafted for the Vietnam War. DeLay graduated from the University of Houston in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in biology.
In 1978, DeLay won the election for an open seat in the Texas House of Representatives. He was the first Republican to represent Fort Bend County in the state House. DeLay ran for Congress in 1984 from the 22nd District, after fellow Republican Ron Paul decided to run in the Republican primary for the 1984 U.S. Senate race instead of for reelection (Paul subsequently returned to Congress from a neighboring district). He easily won a crowded six-way primary with 53 percent of the vote, and cruised to election in November. DeLay was one of six freshmen Republican congressmen elected from Texas in 1984 known as the Texas Six Pack. He was reelected 10 times, never facing substantive opposition in what had become a solidly Republican district.
During his time in the Texas Legislature, DeLay struggled with alcoholism and gained a reputation as a playboy, earning the nickname "Hot Tub Tom". By the time of his election to Congress in 1984 he was drinking "eight, ten, twelve martinis a night at receptions and fundraisers." In 1985 DeLay became a born-again Christian, and gave up hard liquor. Of the Rev. Ken Wilde, an evangelical minister from Idaho who founded the National Prayer Center in Washington, D.C., which houses volunteers who come to the capital to pray for the nation's leaders, DeLay said, "This is the man who really saved me. When I was going through my troubles, it was Ken who really stepped up." Of his conversion, he said, "I had put my needs first ... I was on the throne, not God. I had pushed God from His throne."
In 1994, Christine DeLay began volunteering as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children in foster care, and soon thereafter, the DeLays became foster parents to three teenagers In 2005, Christine and Tom DeLay founded Rio Bend, a "Christ-centered" foster care community in Richmond, Texas, that cares for abused and neglected children "as an answer to problems they felt plagued the current foster care system", according to the Rio Bend website, which continues, "The DeLays developed Rio Bend's vision based on Christine's time spent as a special advocate, as well as their experiences together as therapeutic foster parents."
When the Republican Party gained control of the House in 1995 following the 1994 election, or "Republican Revolution", DeLay was elected Majority Whip against the wishes of House Speaker-elect Newt Gingrich.
DeLay's involvement with the lobbying industry included a pointed effort on the part of the Republican Party to parlay the Congressional majority into dominance of K Street, the lobbying district of Washington, D.C. DeLay, Senator Rick Santorum, and Grover Norquist launched a campaign in 1995 encouraging lobbying firms to retain only Republican officials in top positions. Firms that had Democrats in positions of authority, DeLay suggested, would not be granted the ear of majority party members. In 1999, DeLay was privately reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee after he pulled an intellectual property rights bill off the House floor when the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) hired a former Democratic Congressman, Dave McCurdy. Firms initially responded to the campaign, but it waned during 2004, when the possibility of Senator John Kerry's winning the presidency gave lobbying firms some incentive to hire Democrats.
In the 1990s, in keeping with his opposition to environmental regulation, DeLay criticized proposals to phase out the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which lead to the depletion of the ozone layer. In 1995, DeLay introduced a bill to revoke the CFC ban and to repeal provisions of the Clean Air Act dealing with stratospheric ozone, arguing that the science underlying the ban was debatable.
According to ABC's 20/20 television program and NPR, Abramoff lobbied DeLay to stop legislation banning sex shops and sweatshops that forced employees to have abortions in the Northern Mariana Islands when Abramoff accompanied DeLay on a 1997 trip to the U.S. commonwealth. While on the trip, DeLay promised not to put the bill on the legislative calendar.
In 1998, DeLay worked to ensure that the House vote on impeaching President Bill Clinton was successful. DeLay rejected efforts to censure Clinton, who, DeLay said, had lied under oath. DeLay posited that the U.S. Constitution allowed the House to punish the president only through impeachment. He called on Clinton to resign and personally compelled enough House members to vote to approve two articles of impeachment. Republicans paid the price at the polls during the 1998 congressional "midterm" election, as the GOP sustained a net loss of five seats to Democrats in the House of Representatives.
Newt Gingrich, whose approval as Speaker, both in the Congress and in the public eye, had already greatly suffered due to his polarizing political style and a formal House reprimand and $300,000 fine for political ethics violations, was widely blamed for the political failure of impeachment and the House losses by Republicans in the 1998 midterms and during the 1996 general election as well. Facing the second major attempt in as many years by House Republicans, including DeLay, to oust him as Speaker, Gingrich announced he would resign from Congress. Following Gingrich's announcement, Appropriations Committee chairman Bob Livingston of Louisiana became the presumptive Speaker-elect until December 1998, when, during House debate over its still-ongoing impeachment proceedings, he admitted to extramarital affairs himself and withdrew his name from consideration as Speaker. Armey was out of the running after fending off a bruising challenge to his majority leader's post from Steve Largent of Oklahoma. This seemingly left DeLay, as the third-ranking House Republican, with the inside track to the Speakership. However DeLay concluded that he would be "too nuclear" to lead the closely divided House that had resulted from the Republican House losses in 1996 and 1998. So instead DeLay proposed his chief vote-counter, Chief Deputy Whip Dennis Hastert, as a compromise candidate, since Hastert had very good relations on both sides of the aisle. As Congress reconvened in January 1999, Hastert was elected House Speaker, and DeLay was reelected House Majority Whip.
In early 1999, The New Republic picked up a story, first reported by Houston-area alternative weeklies, alleging that DeLay had committed perjury during a civil lawsuit brought against him by a former business partner in 1994.
DeLay opposes the teaching of evolution. After the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, he entered into the Congressional Record a statement saying that shootings happened in part "because our school systems teach our children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup of mud."
DeLay declined to comment on a 1999 report in The New Yorker that he was estranged from much of his family, including his mother and one of his brothers. As of 2001, he had not spoken to his younger brother, Randy, a Houston lobbyist, since 1996, when a complaint to the House Ethics Committee prompted DeLay to state that he had cut his brother off in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
In 2000, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a worker reform bill to extend the protection of U.S. labor and minimum-wage laws to the workers in the Northern Mariana Islands. DeLay, the House Republican Whip, stopped the House from considering the bill. DeLay later blocked a fact-finding mission planned by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) by threatening him with the loss of his subcommittee chairmanship.
DeLay received gifts from Abramoff, including paid golfing holidays to Scotland, concert tickets, and the use of Abramoff's private skyboxes for fundraisers. In May 2000, ARMPAC received the free use of one of Abramoff's private skyboxes to host a political fundraiser. At the time, campaign finance laws did not require the use of the skybox, valued at several thousand dollars, to be disclosed or for Abramoff to be reimbursed for its use.
House rules forbid members to accept travel expenses from lobbyists, and require that members inquire into the sources of funds that nonprofits use to pay for trips. DeLay denied knowing that lobbyists had paid for travel expenses. In July 2000, DeLay voted against a bill that would have restricted Internet gambling. Both eLottery and the Choctaws opposed the bill. Rudy, who was then DeLay's deputy chief of staff, doomed the bill by engineering a parliamentary maneuver that required a two-thirds majority vote, rather than a simple majority, for the bill to pass. Rudy's actions on behalf of Abramoff's clients during this time were mentioned in Abramoff's guilty plea in January 2006.
In 2001, DeLay refused to increase the Earned Income Credit (EIC) tax credit, thereby defying President George W. Bush, during the congressional battle over Bush's tax cuts for people making between $10,500 and $26,625 a year; when reporters asked DeLay about what he would do about increasing the EIC, DeLay simply stated, "[It] ain't going to happen." When Bush's press secretary Ari Fleischer reiterated the president's desire for a low-income tax cut, DeLay retorted, "The last time I checked they [the executive branch] don't have a vote."
DeLay has been a strong supporter of the State of Israel, saying, "The Republican leadership, especially that leadership in the House, has made pro-Israel policy a fundamental component of our foreign policy agenda and it drives the Democrat [sic] leadership crazy—because they just can't figure out why we do it!" In a 2002 speech, DeLay promised to "use every tool at my disposal to ensure that the Republican Conference, and the House of Representatives, continues to preserve and strengthen America's alliance with the State of Israel."
As a member of the Republican minority in the 1980s, DeLay made a name for himself by criticizing the National Endowment for the Arts and the Environmental Protection Agency. During his first term in Congress, DeLay was appointed to the Republican Committee on Committees, which assigned representatives to House committees, and in his second term, he was appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, a position that he retained until his election as Majority Leader in 2003. He was reappointed to the committee in 2006 after leaving his position as Majority Leader. He also served for a time as chairman of a group of conservative House Republicans known as the Republican Study Committee, and as Secretary of the House Republican Conference. DeLay was appointed as a deputy Republican whip in 1988.
After serving as his party's Whip for eight years, DeLay was elected Majority Leader upon the retirement of Dick Armey in 2003. His tenure as Majority Leader was marked by strong Republican party discipline and by parliamentary and redistricting efforts to preserve Republican control of the House. After his indictment on September 28, 2005, DeLay stepped down from his position as Majority Leader. He was the first congressional leader ever to be indicted. Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri took over as acting leader.
In 2003, DeLay blamed Senate Democrats and what he called "BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) environmentalists" for blocking legislative solutions to problems such as the 2003 North America blackout.
DeLay maintained public silence on Houston's 2003 METRORail light rail initiative, though in the past, he had opposed expanding light rail to Houston. Public filings later showed that DeLay had his Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (ARMPAC) and his congressional campaign committee sent money to Texans for True Mobility, an organization that advocated against the initiative. The proposal passed by a slim margin. Despite his earlier opposition, following the passage of the initiative, DeLay helped to obtain funding for the light rail program.
On a 2003 trip to Israel, DeLay toured the nation and addressed members of the Knesset. His opposition to land concessions is so strong that Aryeh Eldad, the deputy of Israel's conservative National Union party, remarked, "As I shook his hand, I told Tom DeLay that until I heard him speak, I thought I was farthest to the right in the Knesset." Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom said "The Likud is nothing compared to this guy."
On September 30, 2004, the House Ethics Committee unanimously admonished DeLay because he "offered to endorse Representative [Nick] Smith's son in exchange for Representative Smith's vote in favor of the Medicare bill."
In 2004, the House Ethics Committee unanimously admonished DeLay for his actions related to a 2002 energy bill. A Committee memo stated that DeLay "created the appearance that donors were being provided with special access to Representative DeLay regarding the then-pending energy legislation."
Following petition drives by citizens and organizations asking that DeLay be removed from office and official admonishments by the United States House Committee on Ethics, DeLay was charged in 2005 with money laundering and conspiracy charges related to illegal campaign finance activities aimed at helping Republican candidates for Texas state office in the 2002 elections. The indictment was sought by Ronnie Earle, the Democratic former District Attorney of Travis County (which includes the state capital of Austin). A first grand jury rejected Earle's indictment attempt, but a second grand jury issued an indictment for one count of criminal conspiracy on September 28, 2005. On October 3, a third grand jury indicted DeLay for the more serious offense of money laundering.
An arrest warrant was issued on October 19, 2005, and DeLay turned himself in the next day to the Harris County Sheriff's Office in Houston. In accordance with House Republican Conference rules, DeLay temporarily resigned from his position as House Majority Leader. On January 7, 2006, after pressure from fellow Republicans, he announced that he would not seek to return to the post. On June 9, 2006, he resigned from Congress.
In December 2005, the Washington Post reported that, in 1998, a group of Russian oil executives had given money to a nonprofit advocacy group run by a former DeLay staffer and funded by clients of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, in an attempt to influence DeLay's vote on an International Monetary Fund bailout of the Russian economy. Associates of DeLay adviser Ed Buckham, the founder of the U.S. Family Network, said that executives from the oil firm Naftasib had offered a donation of $1,000,000 to be delivered to a Washington, D.C.-area airport to secure DeLay's support. On June 25, 1998, the U.S. Family Network received a $1 million check via money transferred through the London law firm James & Sarch Co. This payment was the largest single entry on U.S. Family Network's donor list. The original source of the donation was not recorded. DeLay denied the payment had influenced his vote. Naftasib denied it had made the payment and that it had ever been represented by James & Sarch Co. The now-dissolved law firm's former partners declined to comment due to "confidentiality requirements".
DeLay has long been a strong critic of Cuban leader Fidel Castro's regime, which DeLay has called a "thugocracy", and a supporter of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. However, in April 2005, Time Magazine published a photo from a government-funded July 2003 trip to Israel, in which DeLay is seen smoking a Cuban cigar. The consumption or purchase of Cuban cigars was illegal in the United States at the time (but was legal for U.S. citizens abroad). In September 2004, the U.S. Treasury Department's enforcement of the law toughened it to forbid consumption (smoking) or purchase of Cuban cigars by U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, but this ban was partially lifted by President Obama in October 2016.
DeLay called the Terri Schiavo case "one of my proudest moments in Congress". DeLay made headlines for his role in helping lead federal intervention in the matter. On Palm Sunday weekend in March 2005, several days after the brain-damaged Florida woman's feeding tube was disconnected for the third time, the House met in emergency session to pass a bill allowing Schiavo's parents to petition a federal judge to review the removal of the feeding tube. DeLay called the removal of the feeding tube "an act of barbarism". DeLay faced accusations of hypocrisy from critics when the Los Angeles Times revealed that he had consented to ending life support for his father, who had been in a comatose state because of a debilitating accident in 1988.
Scanlon, who became Abramoff's lobbying partner, pleaded guilty in November 2005 to conspiracy charges. Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy charges on January 3, 2006, and agreed to cooperate with the government's investigation. His cooperation may have forced DeLay to abandon his efforts to return to his position as House Majority Leader, a decision DeLay announced only a few days after Abramoff's plea bargain. Rudy pleaded guilty on March 31, 2006, to illegally acting on Abramoff's behalf in exchange for gifts. Abramoff referred clients to Ed Buckham's Alexander Strategy Group (ASG), a lobbying firm. In addition, Abramoff clients gave more than $1.5 million to Buckham's U.S. Family Network, which then paid ASG more than $1 million.
On the issue of abortion, DeLay is anti-abortion. In 2005, he voted 100% in line with the views of the National Right to Life Committee and 0% with the National Abortion Reproductive Rights Action League.
In 2005, DeLay, acting against the president's wishes, initiated the "safe harbor" provision for MTBE in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, together with Rep. Joe Barton. This provision would have retroactively protected the makers of the gasoline additive from lawsuits; the provision was later dropped from the final bill.
In 2005, in a snub to the Bush administration, DeLay was the "driving force behind the rejection of direct aid" to the Palestinian Authority. The deal had been brokered by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In the wake of the legislation, some Jewish leaders expressed concern "about the degree to which the Texas Republican, an evangelical Christian who opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, will go to undercut American and Israeli attempts to achieve a two-state solution."
DeLay's website concludes by saying that the former congressman and his wife "continue to be outspoken advocates for foster care reform and are actively involved in a unique foster care community in Richmond, Texas, that provides safe, permanent homes for abused and neglected kids." Rio Bend, a "Christ-centered" community which the DeLays founded, opened in 2005.
On January 7, 2006, after weeks of growing pressure from Republican colleagues, and particularly from Reps. Charlie Bass and Jeff Flake, who wanted to avoid being associated with DeLay's legal issues in an election year, DeLay announced he would not seek to regain his position as Majority Leader.
DeLay was the target of the Justice Department investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's actions. Abramoff allegedly provided DeLay with trips, gifts, and political donations in exchange for favors to Abramoff's lobbying clients, which included the government of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Internet gambling services, and several Native American tribes. Two of DeLay's former political aides, Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon, as well as Abramoff himself, pleaded guilty in 2006 to charges relating to the investigation. Political columnist Robert Novak reported that Abramoff "has no derogatory information about former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and is not implicating him as part of his plea bargain with federal prosecutors."
In January 2006, The Associated Press reported that in 2001, DeLay co-signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft calling for the closure of a casino owned by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. Two weeks earlier, the Choctaws had donated $1,000 to DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC). A DeLay spokesman denied that the donations had influenced DeLay's actions. Currently, and at the time of the letter, casinos or other private gambling establishments are illegal in Texas, even on Indian reservations.
On December 10, 2006, DeLay launched a personal blog. After joining Dancing with the Stars in August 2008, DeLay scrubbed his personal website of most of its political content and rebranded it as "Dancing with DeLay."
In March 2007, DeLay published No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight, co-authored with Stephen Mansfield. The book's foreword is by Rush Limbaugh; the preface, by Sean Hannity. The book contains controversial claims, including DeLay's assertion as fact the claim that the Clinton Administration had sought to have military uniforms banned from the White House, which has been repeatedly proven false.
On August 19, 2009, DeLay, making the rounds of various media shows in order to promote his upcoming participation in season nine of Dancing with the Stars, was interviewed by Chris Matthews of Hardball, a political news and talk show on MSNBC. DeLay made political news, when, during the interview, he became the most famous Republican yet to give voice to the so-called birther conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama. During his appearance on Hardball, when pressed by Matthews as to whether he supported the conspiracy theory and its adherents and proponents, including several Republican members of Congress, DeLay said, "I would like the president to produce his birth certificate.... I can, most illegal aliens here in America can. Why can't the president of the United States produce a birth certificate?... Chris, the Constitution of the United States specifically says you have to be a 'natural-born citizen' [to be eligible to serve as president]."
DeLay moved to dismiss all charges. Judge Priest dismissed one count of the indictment alleging conspiracy to violate election law but allowed the other, more serious charges of money laundering and conspiracy to engage in money laundering to proceed. He also refused to allow a change of venue from Travis County, which the defense argued could not be the site of an impartial trial, to Fort Bend County, in which DeLay resided. The trial began on October 26, 2010, in Austin.
On November 24, 2010, DeLay was found guilty by a Travis County jury on both counts. The range of possible sentences was probation to between 5 and 99 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines, though the judge could have chosen probation. On January 10, 2011, after a sentencing hearing, the judge sentenced DeLay to three years in prison on the charge of conspiring to launder corporate money into political donations. On the charge of money laundering, he was sentenced to five years in prison, but that was probated for 10 years, meaning DeLay would serve 10 years' probation. Dick DeGuerin was DeLay's defense attorney.
In August 2010, the government ended a six-year investigation of his ties to Abramoff, according to DeLay's lead counsel in the matter, Richard Cullen. A state case continued in Texas.
DeLay appealed his conviction to the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District at Austin, which heard oral arguments on October 10, 2012. On September 19, 2013, a ruling by the Court of Appeals overturned his convictions and entered an acquittal. Justice Melissa Goodwin, a Republican, wrote in the majority opinion that
She was joined in the opinion by visiting Justice David Galtney, also a Republican. Chief Justice J. Woodfin Jones, a Democrat, dissented, writing, "I disagree with the majority's conclusion that there was legally insufficient evidence to support a jury finding that the corporate contributions at issue here were the proceeds of criminal activity." The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the prosecution's petition for discretionary review on March 19, 2013, agreeing to review the decision of the Texas Court of Appeals Third District.
The all-Republican Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to review the case and ruled, 8-1, to affirm the lower courts' dismissal on October 1, 2014. He had three years from that date to file any lawsuits for wrongful action.
Tom married his high school love, Christine Furrh, in 1967. In 2005, he and his wife founded Rio Bend, a Christian foster care community in Richmond, Texas.
Currently, Tom DeLay is 74 years, 0 months and 4 days old. Tom DeLay will celebrate 75th birthday on a Friday 8th of April 2022. Below we countdown to Tom DeLay upcoming birthday.