Tom DeLay, a former Texas congressman, served Texas' 22nd Congressional District from 1984 until 2006. Nicknamed "the Hammer," he served as House majority leader from 2003 to 2005. In 2006, he resigned from Congress when he was indicted on money laundering and other charges involving campaign finance violations.
In mid-August 2010, the Justice Department ended a six-year investigation of DeLay and his connections to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff arranged several expensive foreign trips for the Sugar Land Republican, most notoriously a junket to Scotland to play golf. Abramoff, who was released in December 2010 after serving a prison sentence, was working to influence DeLay and other members of Congress on behalf of his clients. DeLay also allowed an aide-turned-lobbyist to pay his wife and daughter at the same time the lobbyist had clients who'd benefit from DeLay's help. DeLay contends he was prosecuted for political reasons.
Democratic District Attorney Ronnie Earle indicted DeLay and two aides, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, for violating state campaign finance laws in 2005. The case against the three men goes back to 2002, when the state believes DeLay conspired with Colyandro and Ellis to funnel corporate money raised by DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority PAC, through the Republican National Committee, which then donated the same money — from its noncorporate account to get around campaign finance rules — to candidates running for the state Legislature. DeLay, who was tried separately from Colyandro and Ellis, went to trial in late October 2010. Represented by Dick DeGuerin, the powerhouse criminal defense attorney who counts among his clients Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, DeLay was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.
DeLay was born in Laredo and graduated from the University of Houston. He was in the pest control business before serving in Congress. In late 2009, he appeared as a contestant on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.