Tom DeLay: Perry Campaign Possible Despite 'Political' Indictment

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 02:17 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay, who was targeted by the same Texas prosecutor's office that indicted Gov. Rick Perry earlier this month, said Sunday that it's still possible for Perry to mount a presidential campaign.

"It's going to be difficult ... especially in raising money," DeLay told CNN "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley. "It all depends over the next few weeks. The judge could throw this out as frivolous, which it is, and the prosecutor not appeal it and then it would be over. But all of those decisions are going to be made in the next 30 to 60 days, and we'll just have to see. Mine went [on for] nine years."

Story continues below video.

In 2005, DeLay, then a Texas congressman and Republican House Majority Leader, was indicted by Travis County DA Ronnie Earle for allegedly conspiring to break election laws three years earlier in a case that involved charges of money laundering.

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He was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison and remained free on bail. Last year, the Texas Court of Appeals threw out his case.

In addition to indicting DeLay and Perry, the Travis County office indicted Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who ended up being acquitted of charges of misconduct as state treasurer.

The office "has a 30-year history of intimidating elected officials," DeLay told Newsmax earlier this month.

And on Sunday, DeLay told Crowley that the indictment against Perry is also "political."

The investigation was initiated by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg after Perry vetoed money for her office's Public Integrity Unit when she refused to step down after she was arrested for driving while under the influence.

"They appointed a new judge, and one judge recused herself and then they appointed another judge," DeLay told Crowley. "The crux of whether it's politics or not, look at the law. I'm not a lawyer, but it happened to me too. They want the indictment. Then they find the law and twist it."

DeLay called such action "prosecutorial misconduct, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat," after Crowley asked about whether a prosecutor appointed to head the investigation has ties to Republicans.

"I don't know what went on behind-the-scenes, but he took the law and twisted it to make it fit," he said. "The governor was doing nothing more than vetoing appropriations. I mean that has partisan politics and criminalization of politics written all over it."

Meanwhile, DeLay refused to speculate which of several potential candidates, including Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, could become the Republican nominee in 2016.

"What I do see we got some great candidates," he said. "Not just those you named but several governors, [including] Scott Walker from Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal from Louisiana. They have great records. You still got Rick Santorum out there, who is building a grassroots campaign. All of these candidates are really great candidates."

All of the candidates have a vision, said DeLay, and the best part is that they are "focused on the constitution, which excites me."

And Democrats should be worried about working to bring up Hillary Clinton "all these years" and having her run against former governors and senators.

"We've got them all," he said. "And who knows who is going to emerge."

DeLay also refused to choose between two Texans, Perry or freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, who may be waging a Texas-sized battle for the White House in 2016.

And DeLay said he does not know if he'll ever seek political office again himself.

"I don't know what the Lord has [in store] for me," he told Crowley. "I just take it one day at a time." 

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