Tom DeLay facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
|House Majority Leader|
January 3, 2003 – September 28, 2005
|Preceded by||Dick Armey|
|Succeeded by||Roy Blunt (Interim)|
|House Majority Whip|
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2003
|Speaker||Newt Gingrich (1995–1999)
Dennis Hastert (1999–2003)
|Preceded by||David Bonior|
|Succeeded by||Roy Blunt|
|Secretary of the House Republican Conference|
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Vin Weber|
|Succeeded by||Barbara Vucanovich|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 22nd district
January 3, 1985 – June 9, 2006
|Preceded by||Ron Paul|
|Succeeded by||Shelley Sekula-Gibbs|
|Member of the
Texas House of Representatives
from Sugar Land
|Preceded by||Joe A. Hubenak|
|Succeeded by||Jim Tallas|
|Constituency||21st district (1979–1983)
26th district (1983–1985)
Thomas Dale DeLay
April 8, 1947
Laredo, Texas, U.S.
|Residence(s)||Sugar Land, Texas, U.S.|
|Education||University of Houston (BS)|
Thomas Dale DeLay (//; born April 8, 1947) is an American author and retired politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1985 until 2006. He was Republican Party House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005.
DeLay began his career as a politician in 1978 when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In 1988, he was appointed Deputy Minority Whip. In 1994 he helped Newt Gingrich orchestrate the Republican Revolution, which gave the Republicans the victory in the 1994 midterm election and swept Democrats from power in both houses of Congress, putting Republicans in control of the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. In 1995, he was elected House Majority Whip. With the Republicans in control of both chambers in Congress, DeLay, along with conservative activist Grover Norquist, helped start the K Street Project, an effort to advance Republican ideals. DeLay was elected House Majority Leader after the 2002 midterm elections. DeLay was known as a staunch conservative during his years in Congress.
In 2005, DeLay was indicted on criminal charges of conspiracy to violate election law by campaign money laundering in 2002 by a Travis County grand jury after he waived his rights under the statutes of limitations. In accordance with Republican Caucus rules, DeLay temporarily resigned from his position as House Majority Leader and later, announced that he would not seek to return to the position. He resigned his seat in Congress in June 2006. He was convicted in January 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison but was free on bail while appealing his conviction. The trial court's judgment was overturned by the Austin Court of Appeals, a Texas intermediate appellate court, on September 19, 2013, with a ruling that "the evidence in the case was 'legally insufficient to sustain DeLay's convictions'", and DeLay was formally acquitted. The State of Texas appealed the acquittal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. On October 1, 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the appellate court decision overturning DeLay's conviction.
After leaving Congress, DeLay co-authored, with Stephen Mansfield, a political memoir, No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight. He founded the lobbying firm First Principles, LLC.
- Early life and education
- Early career
- Political career
- Political positions
- Electoral history
- Life after Congress
- Personal life
- See also
Early life and education
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.
DeLay did not serve in the military during the Vietnam War era. He pointed out "there was literally no room for patriotic folks like myself."
After graduating from college, DeLay spent three years at pesticide-maker Redwood Chemical and then purchased Albo Pest Control, which DeLay grew into a large and successful business. This work was the source for his nickname, "the Exterminator". In the 11 years DeLay ran the company, the Internal Revenue Service imposed three tax liens on him for failure to pay payroll and income taxes. The United States Environmental Protection Agency's ban on Mirex, a pesticide that was used in extermination work, led DeLay to oppose government regulation of businesses, a belief that he has carried with him throughout his political career.
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.
Early Congressional career
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.
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 was not always on good terms with Gingrich or Dick Armey, the House Majority Leader from 1995 to 2003, and he reportedly considered them uncommitted to Christian values. Nevertheless, in the heyday of the 104th Congress (1995–1997), DeLay described the Republican leadership as a triumvirate of Gingrich, "the visionary"; Armey, "the policy wonk"; and himself, "the ditch digger who makes it all happen".
In the summer of 1997 several House Republicans, who saw Speaker Newt Gingrich's public image as a liability, attempted to replace him as Speaker. The attempted "coup" began July 9 with a meeting between Republican conference chairman John Boehner of Ohio and Republican leadership chairman Bill Paxon of New York. According to their plan, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, House Majority Whip DeLay, Boehner and Paxon were to present Gingrich with an ultimatum: resign, or be voted out. However, Armey balked at the proposal to make Paxon the new Speaker, and told his chief of staff to warn Gingrich about the coup.
On July 11, Gingrich met with senior Republican leadership to assess the situation. He explained that under no circumstance would he step down. If he was voted out, there would be a new election for Speaker, which would allow for the possibility that Democrats—along with dissenting Republicans—would vote in Dick Gephardt as Speaker. On July 16, Paxon offered to resign his post, feeling that he had not handled the situation correctly, as the only member of the leadership who had been appointed to his position—by Gingrich—instead of elected.
As Majority Whip, DeLay earned the nickname "The Hammer" for his enforcement of party discipline in close votes and his reputation for wreaking political vengeance on opponents. DeLay has expressed a liking for his nickname, pointing out that the hammer is one of a carpenter's most valuable tools. In the 104th Congress, DeLay successfully whipped 300 out of 303 bills.
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.
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 decline to take his seat in the upcoming 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 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. 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.
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.
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.
Legislative and electoral methods
DeLay was known to "primary" Republicans who resisted his votes (i.e., to threaten to endorse and to support a Republican primary challenge to the disobedient representative).
In the 108th Congress, a preliminary Medicare vote passed 216–215, a vote on Head Start passed 217–216, a vote on school vouchers for Washington, D.C., passed 209-208, and "Fast track", usually called "trade promotion authority", passed by one vote as well. Both political supporters and opponents remarked on DeLay's ability to sway the votes of his party, a method DeLay described as "growing the vote". DeLay was noted for involving lobbyists in the process of passing House bills. One lobbyist said, "I've had members pull me aside and ask me to talk to another member of Congress about a bill or amendment, but I've never been asked to work on a bill—at least like they are asking us to whip bills now." His ability to raise money gave him additional influence. During the 2004 election cycle, DeLay's political action committee ARMPAC was one of the top contributors to Republican congressional candidates, contributing over $980,000 in total.
Partly as a result of DeLay's management abilities, the House Republican caucus under him displayed unprecedented, sustained party cohesion.
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."
DeLay was rated a 2.77 out of 100 by Progressive Punch, a leftist affiliation, for his votes regarding corporate subsidies, government checks on corporate power, human rights and civil liberties, labor rights and environmental policy.
On economic policy, DeLay was rated 95 out of 100 by Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative anti-tax group, and 95 to 100 by the United States Chamber of Commerce, a pro-business lobby. He received the lowest possible score of 0% from the AFL–CIO, the nation's largest organization of labor unions.
On environmental policy, he earned ratings of zero from the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters. He has been a fervent critic of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which he has called the "Gestapo of government".
In the politics of guns, DeLay firmly came down on the side of gun owners rights, loosening gun control laws and opposing stricter controls. He received a grade of "A+" from the National Rifle Association (NRA), the nation's largest pro-gun rights lobby.
On the issue of immigration, DeLay received the highest possible score of 100% from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization that seeks to restrict immigration.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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."
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.
DeLay supported the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Critics of the legislation argued that it unduly favored creditors over consumers, noting that the credit card industry spent millions of dollars lobbying in support of the act. The bill passed Congress.
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."
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."
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."
|Year||Republican||Votes||Pct||Democratic||Votes||Pct||3rd party||Votes||Pct||4th party||Votes||Pct|
|1984||Tom DeLay||125,225||66.4%||Doug Williams||66,495||33.7%|
|1986||Tom DeLay||76,459||71.8%||Susan Director||30,079||28.2%|
|1988||Tom DeLay||125,733||67.2%||Wayne Walker||58,471||31.3%||George Harper||2,276||1.2%|
|1998||Tom DeLay||87,840||65.2%||Hill Kemp||45,386||33.7%||Steve Grupe||1,494||1.1%|
|2000||Tom DeLay||66%||Hill Kemp||34%|
|2002||Tom DeLay||63.2%||Tim Riley||35.0%||Joel West||0.8%||Jerry LaFleur||1.0%|
|2004||Tom DeLay||150,386||55.2%||Richard R. Morrison||112,034||41.1%||Michael Fjetland||5,314||1.948%||Tom Morrison||4,886||1.8%|
Investigation of Texas fundraising
Life after Congress
Since leaving Congress, along with tending to his legal troubles, DeLay has co-authored (with Stephen Mansfield) a political memoir, No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight, given media interviews (primarily regarding politics), begun a personal blog, opened an official Facebook page (written in the third-person), become active on Twitter (written in the first-person), and appeared on the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars, the highly watched ABC television reality show.
According to his personal website, since leaving office DeLay has also founded a strategic political consulting firm, First Principles LLC. And, "in addition to his political and business work", the "Meet Tom" section of his site says, "DeLay travels around the country delivering speeches to conservative organizations, Republican events, and college campuses." This "Meet Tom" section adds that "DeLay also spends a great deal of his time... traveling around the country and meeting with major donors, fundraisers, and political operatives, encouraging them to pay more attention to what the Left is accomplishing and how, and asking for their involvement with more outside organizations." DeLay ascribes divine motivation to his political efforts since leaving Congress, telling an interviewer: "I listen to God, and what I've heard is that I'm supposed to devote myself to rebuilding the conservative base of the Republican Party, and I think we shouldn't be underestimated."
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.
Blog and book
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.
Dancing with the Stars
DeLay was a participant on the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars, a reality-TV dance competition show in which celebrities such as DeLay are paired with professional dancers. DeLay's dance partner-instructor was Cheryl Burke, a two-time champion on the highly watched ABC television show. DeLay is the second former politician to compete on the show, following the former mayor of Cincinnati (1977–78), season three's Jerry Springer, better known as host of the tabloid television talk show The Jerry Springer Show.
Discussion of "birther" conspiracy theory
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 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.
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."
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 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."
In Spanish: Tom DeLay para niños
- List of federal political scandals in the United States
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