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Tom DeLay

U.S. Representative / Political Scandal Figure

Born: 8 April 1947
Birthplace: Laredo, Texas
Best known as:

The convicted Texas ex-Congressman who appeared on Dancing With the Stars

Tom Delay is the former House Majority Leader who resigned in 2006 after being indicted on charges of violating campaign finance laws. Tom Delay was born in Texas, where his father was in the oil business. DeLay earned a degree in biology from the University of Houston in 1970. From 1973-84 he owned Albo Pest Control, picking up the wry nickname of "The Exterminator." A Republican, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1978, and in 1984 moved up to the U.S. House of Representatives from the state's 22nd Congressional District. Over the next decade Tom Delay earned the nickname "The Hammer" for his hard-nosed ways of enforcing party discipline as he moved up the seniority ladder. By 1995 he was the Majority Whip, and he played a big role in the so-called K Street Project, an effort by GOP operatives to strong-arm major lobbying firms to hire Republicans. He became House Majority Leader in 2002, second in power only to Speaker Dennis Hastert. Beloved by many social conservatives, DeLay nonetheless got into hot water after revelations that he had paid his wife and daughter $500,000 from his own political action committee, that he had taken golf trips overseas paid for by lobbyists, and that he had close ties to convicted felon Jack Abramoff. Late in 2005 he was indicted by a Texas grand jury for money laundering and violating campaign laws. He was forced to give up the role of Majority Leader, and while denying wrongdoing, he resigned from the House on 9 June 2006. His indictment stretched into 2009. That same year Tom DeLay was chosen to appear as a dancer on the reality TV series Dancing With the Stars; he withdrew from competition with stress fractures in both feet. DeLay wrote (with Steven Mansfield) the 2007 memoir No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight. Tom Delay was convicted in November of 2010 of money laundering and other charges. In January of 2011 he was sentenced to three years in prison. However, the conviction was overturned in a split decision by a three-judge panel of the Texas criminal appellate court in September of 2013.

Extra credit:

Tom Delay married his wife, the former Christine Furrh, in 1967. Their daughter, Danielle, was born in 1972... Before attending the University of Houston, Tom DeLay was expelled from Baylor University for bad behavior... Tom DeLay became a born-again Christian in 1985, he has often said.

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