Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay must serve three years in prison for his November conviction on money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in 2002, a Texas judge ruled Monday.
Judge Pat Priest sentenced Delay to two concurrent sentences. One will be three years on the conspiracy charge and the other was five years in prison for money-laundering with the option of serving ten years of probation instead.
DeLay was released on $10,000 bond pending appeal.
He was convicted of illegally using corporate money to fund the campaigns of Republican candidates to the Texas legislature. He had faced a life sentence.
Prosecutors said he conspired along with two others to use his Texas-based political action committee to give the Republican National Committee in Washington $190,000 in corporate money.
The corporate money was then transferred directly to the candidates, which is illegal under Texas law. The money was used by Republicans to take control of the Texas House of Representatives, which gave Republicans an advantage in the redistricting process that sent more Texas representatives to Congress in 2004, prosecutors said.