“The Criminalization of politics”

That was Tom Delay’s take on his conviction for alleged money laundering last week. No surprise there.
But it also happens to be the take of the Washington Post’s board of editors. They point out that in Texas, as elsewhere, money laundering is defined as knowingly using “the proceeds of criminal activity.” Typically, that means cash from drug deals or the like.
In Delay’s case, as I understand it, he directed money from his political action committee to the Republican National Committee, along with a list of candidates for the Texas state legislature and how much each was to receive. Delay’s PAC money had been donated by corporations.
Since it was legal for the corporations to contribute money to Delay’s PAC, the Post finds it difficult to see how Delay used “the proceeds of criminal activity.” Thus, it concludes, correctly in my view, that “when Mr. Delay, following the conviction, assailed ‘the criminalization of politics,’ he had a fair point.”

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