Fund-raisers with ties to Rep. DeLay are indicted

3 suspected of misusing campaign contributions

September 22, 2004|By Richard Simon | Richard Simon,LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON - A Texas grand jury indicted yesterday three political fund-raisers with ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. They are suspected of funneling illegal corporate campaign funds to Republican candidates for state office.

DeLay, a Texas Republican who is one of Congress' most powerful members, was not charged but is the subject of a House Ethics Committee complaint accusing him of improperly involving a federal agency in a Texas partisan matter, soliciting campaign contributions in return for legislative favors and violating campaign finance laws.

DeLay, who called the indictments politically motivated, said he has not been contacted by Texas authorities, and he questioned the timing of the indictments announced by the Travis County district attorney, a Democrat.

"This has been an investigation that has been under way for nearly two years, and 40 days before the election they've suddenly taken action," he said.

The three indicted fund-raisers - associated with a political fund-raising committee founded by DeLay - are accused of improperly using corporate contributions to help elect a Republican majority to the Texas Legislature in 2002. Texas law bars corporate contributions to candidates for state office.

The Republican majority in the state Legislature helped DeLay orchestrate a disputed redrawing of congressional district lines that is expected to tilt Texas' delegation to the U.S. House from a slim Democratic majority to firm Republican control in this fall's elections. That would strengthen GOP control of the chamber.

DeLay said at the U.S. Capitol that he has had no involvement in the day-to-day operations of Texans for a Republican Majority, the political fund-raising committee named in the indictment, and he said he knew of no wrongdoing.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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