Looking back in the year 2014

In many ways, The Big Buy plays out like a weird hybrid between a classical Greek tragedy and an American morality play. It has all the elements of power absolutely corrupting those who wield it. If left to its own devices, it is almost impossible to walk away from this documentary feeling a little bit of moral superiority. Surely, we all would have acted differently under such circumstances, right? Surely, we’re all made of better moral fiber. If it wasn’t 2014 and we were just watching this movie in 2006, it would be very tempting to dismiss Tom DeLay as just another casualty of the Washington Machine: a congressman from the hinterlands that got taken in by the system and he let its corruption and power rot away his soul.

You can almost feel the tangible finger wagging and heads shaking in morally self-satisfied disgust. Thankfully, we have the hindsight of his 2013 acquittal. Things that looked like black and white in the play turned out to be gray. And since we’re actually living in one of the few countries in the world where you have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, DeLay was able to show that the evidence stacked up against him wasn’t up to snuff-at least according to American standards. And this is precisely the kind of factoid that leaves one walking away from this film feeling a little bit dirtier (source).

You have to see The Big Buy with the hindsight of DeLay’s 2013 acquittal. Otherwise, it would be too easy to become part of the moral wolf pack ready to condemn him. The reality is that there was very little substantive evidence against him. At least it didn’t’ legally fit the elements that would have secured his conviction. Still, the Big Buy and his presentation of DeLay succeeds in getting audiences in 2006 and beyond to convict DeLay morally if not legally. Which begs the question: can you really lay moral blame on someone who is just effective at what he does?

If DeLay were meek and docile, it would be a surprise if he would have attracted as much heat and anger as he did. But consider it a character flaw or the right character set at the right time, DeLay was effective, brutal, and to the point. He made things happen. And as The Big Buy shows-he had to pay for being so damn effective.

Another Year, Another Problem

Tom DeLay’s troubles lasted another six years as the case wound its way through the courts. He was finally convicted in 2011 of the charges and received a three year prison sentence. DeLay fought his conviction in appeals court. Vindication finally came in 2013 when the appeals court ruled that the evidence used against DeLay was ‘legally insufficient to sustain’ a conviction. The trial court’s decisions was reversed and DeLay was acquitted of all charges upon appeal. This was quite a vindication for a hard-charging and proven Republican soldier. Unfortunately, the final resolution of DeLay’s case wasn’t featured in ‘The Big Buy.’ Instead, the 2006 film highlighted the seedy details of DeLay’s take down and his claimed failings.

The great thing about the Big Buy is that it gives us an inside look into the rough and tumble full body contact sport known as American politics, in the same way that Snakes on a Plane gave us an insider’s view of what it must be like to be a flight attendant. We see how a businessman from Texas can rise from the rough and turbulent ranks of party politics to become the GOP’s primary enforcer. The documentary does a good job of highlighting DeLay’s personal attributes. This man is hard and can get stuff done. Now, if you are allied with him, this is a good thing. And this is precisely why GOP members elected him Majority Leader. However, if you are on the other side or you are a maverick, DeLay is precisely the kind of guy you’d like taken down a notch.

The Big Buy, in this respect, has all the elements of a standard Greek tragedy. Really it does. The protagonist is Tom DeLay-an idealistic person with something to prove. The conflict and proving ground is, of course, the rough world of partisan Congressional politics. The play winds through his triumph as his iron will wins him fans and backers. The acts of the play culminate with him reaching the pinnacle-true to a Greek tragedy. Then comes the fall. At this point, it almost becomes formulaic or trite. We’ve seen this before. Either this is a sickness of the typical Western presentation of a man’s rise and fall or there is a certain lack of imagination. Still, it is a very powerful formula-flawed protagonist faces challenges and triumphs, flawed protagonist reaches the zenith of his personal powers-until his weaknesses get the best of him.

“The Big Buy”: About the Movie

‘The Big Buy: Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress is a documentary produced by Jim Schermbeck and Mark Birnbaum released in 2006. This film tracks the rise of Texas Congressman Tom DeLay from political rookie to one of the biggest political heavyweights in the Bush years of 2000 to 2005. At the heart of this documentary is the 2003 redistricting efforts launched by DeLay and his affiliated political organization, Texans for a Republican Majority. The documentary also explores DeLay’s relationships with other key business figures and Congressional players. The thesis of the film (according to some Facebook pages) was that DeLay used his Congressional weight and clout to carve out a district that favored Republicans.

This issue was the defining factor in the latter part of DeLay’s congressional career. In short, he was under a lot of criticism for gerrymandering a district that disenfranchised Democrats and empowering surrounding Republican strongholds. He was indicted in 2005 on criminal conspiracy charges related to the redistricting plan. He earlier waived his rights to statute of limitations protection. This was the only reason he was able to be indicted in 2005 for something that happened in 2002-outside of the statutory window of liability for the kind of crime he was charged with.

After his indictment, DeLay was knocked off his perch as the House Majority leader in in Congress. He held this post quite well and was able to enforce party discipline. In fact, he gained such a reputation for being a hard-nosed player that it was advisable for adversaries not to cross him. That’s how effective DeLay was. To his critics, of course, such strong will smacks of something else entirely negative. Still, the Republicans lost a powerful enforcer when, due to his legal troubles, DeLay was pressured to resign from this very powerful post.

A Corruption History of Tom DeLay

Thomas Dale DeLay was born on April 8, 1947. Tom DeLay is an elected politician and is a former United States House of Representatives member and House Leader of Texas’s 22nd congressional district from 1984 to 2006. His two decade career features victories for the Republican Party in the 90s till the early 2000s.

The first taste of political victory for Tom DeLay occurred in 1978 wherein he was elected into the Texas House of Representatives. After a couple of years in congress, Tom DeLay was designated as the Deputy minority Whip in 1998. Tom DeLay collaborated with Newt Gingrich to push the Republican Revolution that took place in 1994. With the vigor and influence of the two, the Republican Party managed to sweep the Democrats out of both houses of congress during the midterm elections in 1994. It was the first time in the last forty years that the Republican Party took both houses of congress. The year after, Tom DeLay was voted as the House Majority Whip.

After winning both chambers of congress Delay, Gingrich, and Norquist helped push the K Street Project which bannered Republican ideals. Tom DeLay was voted as the House Majority Leader after the 2002 midterm elections. During his long political career, Tom DeLay pushed for conservative issues and Republican ideals.

Tom DeLay’s political career was not full of rainbow and butterflies. He was indicted for money laundering in 2005. His case was filed in Austin, Texas on grounds of conspiracy to violate election law during the 2002 midterm elections. Tom DeLay temporarily stepped down from his position as House Majority Leader in accordance with the Republican Caucus regulations. Feeling the pressure from fellow Republicans, Tom DeLay stated that he would no longer seek to regain the position he vacated. Tom DeLay was convicted in January 2011 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

In 2013, Tom DeLay won a reversal of his conviction. The court ruled in favor of Tom DeLay because of the lack of clear and strong evidence of his mishandling of election funds. DeLay’s political opponents have accused the former congressman of using donations to fund certain candidates for Texas’s Legislature to hold positions in the chambers of congress. These candidates were said to draw new boundaries for certain congressional districts upon winning a seat. After the reversal, DeLay’s political career took a hit. Despite the setbacks, DeLay continues to champion conservative issues and Republican ideals. DeLay’s opponents continue to bash the former congressman because of his alleged corruption.

Tom DeLay Corruption Scandal

Tom DeLay is a former representative of Texas’s 22nd congressional district from 1984 till his indictment in 2006. He was the GOP’s House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005. Tom DeLay’s career as a politician started in 1978 when he won a seat in the House of Representatives in Texas. After just six years in the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay was made Deputy Minority Whip in 1988. Tom DeLay along with Newt Gingrich, started the Republican Revolution in 1994 that helped the GOP take over both houses of congress during the midterm election. In 1995, Tom DeLay was appointed as the House Majority Whip. Tom DeLay’s political career hit its peak when he was elected as House Majority Leader after the 2002 midterm elections.

After rising to its peak in 2002, Tom DeLay’s career careened down when he was indicted for money laundering in 2005. The indictment was filed in Austin, Texas on the grounds of conspiracy to violate election law in 2002. DeLay temporarily vacated his position as Majority House Leader in accordance with Republican Caucus rules. Because of pressure from his party, Tom DeLay no longer sought another term in congress and completely vacated his position as Majority House Leader.

Tom DeLay was later convicted of money laundering in January 2011 and was sentenced to three years behind bars, but was free on bail after he filed an appeal. His conviction was overturned in September 19, 2013 after the court ruled that the evidence provided in the case were insufficient to convict DeLay. After the ruling, Tom DeLay was officially acquitted.

The opponents of Tom DeLay in politics accused the former congressman of illegally routing donations to certain candidates so that he can fill the chamber with Republicans. His opponents alleged that DeLay used the funds for Republicans who would draw new boundaries for congressional districts in the US.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics executive director, Melanie Sloan, stated that Tom DeLay continuously undermined state and federal campaign finance laws. DeLay’s opponents continue to accuse the former congressman of mishandling election finances.

Upon further review of Tom DeLay’s case, the court said prosecutors failed to provide enough evidence that the campaign donations Tom DeLay directed to certain candidates were obtained illegally. The statutes require stronger evidence for the conviction to push through. The jurors were also baffled and asked further clarification from the judges during the trial.

Tom DeLay’s career may have been tainted, but his conservative grassroots campaigns have kept him in the political limelight.