Former House majority leader Tom DeLay met for at least 30 minutes with the top fundraiser of his Texas political action committee on Oct. 2, 2002, the same day that the Republican National Committee in Washington set in motion a series of financial transactions at the heart of the money-laundering and conspiracy case against DeLay.
During the meeting at his Capitol office, DeLay conferred with James W. Ellis, the head of his principal fundraising committee in Washington and his chief fundraiser in Texas.
Ellis had earlier given the Republican National Committee a check for $190,000 drawn mostly from corporate contributions. The same day as the meeting, the RNC ordered $190,000 worth of checks sent to seven Republican legislative candidates in Texas.
In the past two weeks, two separate Texas grand juries have returned indictments against DeLay, Ellis and a political associate alleging that these transactions amounted to money laundering intended to circumvent a Texas campaign law barring the use of corporate funds for state election purposes.
The aim of the alleged scheme was to ensure that Republicans gain control of the Texas House, and thus reorder the state's congressional districts in a manner favoring the election of more Republicans to Congress, reports Washington Post.
According to Houston Chronicle, the timeline is meant to give DeLay a chance to get back on top, aides and political experts said, but it also means the Republican from Sugar Land may be facing long odds.
"To the extent that the Travis County legal problems are resolved in Congressman DeLay's favor in the next three or four months, his chances of becoming majority leader again are good," said Charlie Cook of the independent political journal, the Cook Report.
"But if it drags on much longer, or any other major problems develop, his chances diminish dramatically," Cook said.
"Republican House members owe Tom DeLay a great deal, but at some point his liabilities might exceed that goodwill asset and if that happens, they will resist his any effort to return him to power," the analyst added.