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Ex-Rep. Tom DeLay says long-running investigation ends with no charges

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Department Producer
The federal criminal investigation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been closed.
The federal criminal investigation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been closed.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Justice Department, in line with its standard practice, declines to comment
  • Alleged ties to lobbyist jack Abramoff had been under investigation
  • DeLay still faces a charge in Texas relating to campaign fundraising

Washington (CNN) -- The long-running federal criminal investigation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been closed, and no charges will be brought, DeLay said Monday.

"As you can imagine, it's a great day for me and my family," DeLay told reporters in a telephone conference call.

The Justice Department, as is standard practice, declined any comment on the closing of the probe by its Office of Public Integrity after six years.

DeLay said his legal team had received word from the Justice Department last week.

"I never did meet with anyone from the Justice Department, even informally," DeLay said. "They never contacted me throughout the process. They didn't have anything."

The Texas Republican said he had turned over more than 1,000 documents and all of his computers to federal investigators, and had instructed his aides to fully cooperate with the investigation.

Video: DeLay criminal investigation closed

DeLay was under investigation for his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Abramoff admitted defrauding Native American tribal clients of millions of dollars for help in gaining casino licenses.

DeLay insisted Monday that he had informed Abramoff that "our relationship is over" when he learned of Abramoff's plans for casinos aboard cruise ships. He also told reporters that during a visit to a casino on a Choctaw reservation he was "disgusted" when he saw a long line of baby carriages lined up while parents were gambling at 11:30 p.m.

DeLay's legal troubles are not over. He still faces a charge in Texas relating to campaign fundraising. The Travis County prosecutor has charged DeLay with illegally funneling corporate campaign contributions through the Republican National Committee to Texas Republican candidates in 2002.

DeLay says he is currently assisting the Tea Party movement with fundraising by making personal phone calls. He says he still is operating a consulting firm with "both corporate and conservative clients."

While DeLay was celebrating Monday, the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington blasted the development.

"It's a sad day for America when one of the most corrupt members ever to walk the halls of Congress gets a free pass," said Executive Director Melanie Sloan.

 
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