Tom DeLay Biography

U.S. Representative (1947–)
Tom Delay was Republican majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives who was convicted of money laundering charges in 2010. The conviction was subsequently overturned.


Born on April 8, 1947, in Laredo, Texas, Tom Delay ran an exterminating company before being elected to his home state’s House of Representative, later winning a seat in Congress in 1984. He became Republican majority leader of the House in 2003 and was known as “The Hammer” for his political style. After resigning from Congress in 2006, he was convicted in 2010 of money laundering. His conviction was overturned on appeal in 2013.

Early Life

Congressman Thomas Dale DeLay was born on April 8, 1947, in Laredo, Texas. DeLay spent two years as a pre-med student at Baylor University before he was expelled for drinking and vandalism. After graduating from the University of Houston in 1970, he ran a pest control company before entering the political arena.

Political Career

In 1978, DeLay won the election for an open seat in the Texas House of Representatives. A conservative Republican, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas' 22nd district in 1984. He was appointed Deputy Minority Whip in 1988, elected House Majority Whip in 1995 and was a driving force behind the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998. In 2002, DeLay was elected House Majority Leader and is credited with uniting House Republicans in support of President George W. Bush's agenda.


In 2005, a Texas grand jury indicted DeLay on criminal charges that he had conspired to violate campaign finance laws. DeLay reportedly sought donations to his political action committee from Enron and other corporations to help bankroll the redistricting of Texas to favor the election of more Republicans. DeLay denied the charges but was forced to resign from his position as Majority Leader. During this time, two of DeLay's former aides were convicted in the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal.

DeLay ran for re-election in 2006, winning the Republican primary. However, he withdrew from the race and resigned his seat in Congress a month later. DeLay may have stayed out of politics, but he didn't shy away from the limelight. In 2009, he appeared on the televised competition Dancing With the Stars.

The following year, DeLay was convicted of money laundering. He allegedly had taken money from corporations and illegally used those funds in some 2002 Republican campaigns. Delay appealed his conviction and remained out of prison while he fought this case in court. His conviction was overturned by a Texas circuit court in September 2013. In 2014, prosecutors appealed to the highest criminal court to reinstate the convictions. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals eventually upheld the ruling to overturn the conviction.

Delay married Christine Furrh in 1967. They have a daughter, Danielle.

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