Tan Nguyen was convicted in December of obstruction of justice in an investigation of a mailer he sent to Latino voters in 2006. The mailer claimed it was illegal for immigrants to vote.
The controversy about the letter erupted three weeks before the Nov. 2, 2006, election. Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez beat Nguyen by nearly 24 percentage points to earn her sixth term representing the central Orange County district, which is home to sizable Latino and Vietnamese-American communities.
Nguyen will start serving his prison term March 28.
He had faced a maximum of 20 years behind bars.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.