There has long been a broad and complex relationship between crime and the media. The media has had a significant impact on public opinion, policies, and perceptions of a variety of political, social, and even economic crimes. Hence, there is no debate about the impact of media coverage on public perceptions of crime, law and order, and social control in many places around the world (Mansfield & Holland, 2010). Much public knowledge and information regarding criminal situations has come from the media, most recently via online social media outlets. Hence, the media has a significant impact on how crimes and criminal justice policies are determined/delivered, as well as public perceptions of them (Obey, 2007). In this research paper a critical analysis of Tom Delay corruption case is to be covered. Tom Delay is a powerful and the most divisive Republican lawmaker to have ever come out of Texas. He organized a huge successful fundraiser which raised hundred thousands of dollars, used them in campaigns and at the end Republicans controlled the Texas Legislature which for a long time had been dominated by the Democrats. Through the majority power in the legislature due to their numbers, the Republicans voted in redrawing of the state congressional districts which cemented their Texas politics (Mansfield & Holland, 2010).

In 2010 Tom was convicted of money-laundering charges in a state trial through his fundraiser actions. Five years after his indictment he was forced to resign as a majority leader in the House of Representatives (Obey, 2007). A jury of six men and six women decided that Mr. Delay was guilty of two charges: money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He had allegedly taken money from corporations and illegally used the money to fund Republicans campaigns in 2002. In September 2013 a Texas circuit court overturned his conviction. Later in 2014 an appeal by the prosecutors was put before a three bench charges who later upheld the ruling in a two-one majority rule. On a two one decision the court reversed the conviction of a former Republican Majority Leader based on the argument that he did not directly break the Texas elections laws on Money laundering.

Theoretical Analysis

Tom Delay case dates back to 2002 on his extensive involvement Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC). As alleged he used two operatives (Jim Ellis and John Colyandro) who were indicted on September 21, 2004 for Texas campaign finance law violations related to TRMPAC activities in the 2002 state legislative elections. The two were charged with laundering illegal corporate donations (Obey, 2007). The close association between Tom Delay and the two on TRMPAC issue landed him to money laundering and conspiracy to money laundering case.

In his accusations, it was alleged that Representative Delay involved himself in improper fundraising activities mostly from corporate organizations. He further used federal resources to intervene in a partisan conflict relating to state legislative in Texas, the scheme was to launder $600,000 corporate money to influence the 2002 Texas state Legislative elections. According to allegations directed to him, he created TRMPAC, financed it through improper fundraising from corporate organizations to help him alter the makeup of Texas congregational delegation. The agenda was to eliminate seven districts allied to incumbent Democratic House Members and redraw the same to the Republicans House Members. The mission was to ensure that majority republican members be elected to Texas Legislature who will then be used in the restructuring of the new congressional redistricting plan (Mansfield & Holland, 2010).

Thus the facts of the case included, that in mid-September2002, and as the political campaign heated up, Mr. Delay's state political committee, called Texans gave a check for $190,000 to the Republican National Committee, a fraudulent donation from various corporate bodies. The check together with a list of candidates and amount to spend was issued by Delay's close operative, Mr. Ellis. This was deemed as a conspiracy to money laundering.

The prosecution further presented emails, telephone records, brochures, calendars and other documents in their in their persuasion of the court that Mr. Delay had been involved in the money laundering which intended to break Texas election law (Feld & Wilcox, 2008).

In their submissions the defense attorney argued that the money swap and delay's whole involvement in raising it was done legally, that the Republicans National Committee kept a firewall on all accounts holding corporate and individual contributions. He further gave an evidence that even though Mr. Ellis had told Delay of the transaction, Delay himself did not approve them. Thus in totally he did not involve himself with the money at all (Feld & Wilcox, 2008).

Despite all these arguments Judge Pat Priest Convicted on two charges: money laundering and a conspiracy to commit money laundering. The judge applied money-laundering statute on the money swap. The judge further stated that Mr. Delay and his Legal team were in liberty to proceed to the court of appeal. Delay proceeded to the Court of Appeal and argued that the original donations were legal and that they came from different accounts than the ones the corporate donations were deposited.

Media involvement and its effect on the case outcome

Many media houses reported Delay case like The Wall Street Journal and which quoted "This investigation isn't about me." As per this press release Tom downplayed his role with TRMPAC. The paper further quotes "I didn't have anything to do with the day-to-day operations of TRMPAC" this in itself obvious impacted the way the case was viewed by the public, media being the first source of public informer.

Some other media houses published that Tom created TRMPAC as part of his daring plan to alter the Texas congress delegation membership (Green, 2007). Some said that Delay raised the funds, sat, planned and decided with his board members who was to benefit from the funds thus was perceived a conspiracy to illegally influence the political composition of Texas state Congress.

Other media houses leaked email information of Delay's brainchild, Wertheimer, on the TRMPAC campaign progress saying "Congressman DeLay will join us for a brief conference call to update everyone on TRMPAC's efforts to date and to discuss our strategy for victory in the final weeks of the campaign."

Houston Chronicle stated that "DeLay was more than a passive participant in TRMPAC fundraising events" According to the paper reports and publications, Delay participated in 2001 press conference during TRMPAC creation, travelled to Texas on regular occasions on behalf of the body to raise funds. Further the media house leaked a memo of Diane White Delisi, a close ally of Delay saying, "Delay has been an ardent advocate for us by raising money, making phone calls, serving as a special guest at events and providing assistance with leading strategists." All this impacted on the investigation of the case, and change of public opinions and the resultant outcome of the case (Margolis & Noonan, 2007).

Upon the verdict of the which convicted Delay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, some media houses reported where delay was quoted saying that the whole affair was a political Vendetta by the Democrats in the Local Texas District Attorney's office and a revenge for his role in redrawing Congressional districts from the democrats to the Republicans that "This is an abuse of power," he said. "It's a miscarriage of justice." All this influenced the public view of the case. The appeal court thus overturned Delay conviction (Green, 2007).

ABC media reported that delay said, "All they wanted was the indictment, because the Republicans have a rule that if one of their leaders is indicted he has to temporarily step aside from his leadership position, So the Democrats, all they wanted was the indictment, and that's how they could get rid of me." This quote may be argued by the critics of the ruling that it directly affected the court of appeal ruling (Margolis & Noonan, 2007).

In addition ABC interview with Delay where he said, "It's not bad enough now to just beat them at policy or let them ruin your reputation, they've got to bankrupt you, ruin your family, put you in jail, put you in the grave, and then dance on your grace. That's not good for the country." Has a detrimental impact on the outcome of the case.

The New York Times quoted Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle that "The accusations that have been made against me - in cases involving politicians for the last 30 years, have always had one thing in common - they generally accuse me of the things they would do. And they assume that others would do what they do." This is in response to Delay's claims that the prosecutor only targeted Republicans and not Democrats. This in itself had a great effect on the outcome in that the United States public will view the Texas courts as biased (Green, 2007).

Thus in conclusion media generally has a great role to play in covering and reporting crimes. Media coverage should not help pile pressure on the investigation and the outcomes of a case. Media has a significant role though to uphold the rule of law. Media houses should be aware that criminal coverage may/may not lead to justice thus it's the responsibility of media to release correct and accurate information to the public (Margolis & Noonan, 2007).


Feld, L., & Wilcox, N. (2008). Netroots rising: How a citizen army of bloggers and online activists is changing American politics. Westport, Conn: Praeger

Green, S. P. (2007). Lying, cheating, and stealing: A moral theory of white-collar crime. Oxford [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press

Mansfield, S., & Holland, D. A. (2010). The faith and values of Sarah Palin. Lake Mary, Fla: FrontLine.

Margolis, M., & Noonan, M. (2007). Caucus of corruption: The truth about the new Democratic majority. Los Angeles, CA: World Ahead Pub.

Obey, D. R. (2007). Raising hell for justice: The Washington battles of a heartland progressive. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press

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