Thursday, October 06, 2005

DeLay's excess funds given to ally's groups

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Washington

U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay set out to raise more money than he needed for parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess to campaign groups aligned with longtime ally Rep. Roy Blunt.

Mr. DeLay's private charity, the consulting firm that employed Mr. DeLay's wife and the Missouri campaign of Mr. Blunt's son all received some of the money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist recently charged in an ongoing federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Jim Ellis, the DeLay fundraiser indicted with his boss last week in Texas, were involved in some of the transactions.

A former chief enforcement lawyer for the Federal Election Commission said the Blunt and DeLay transactions are similar to the Texas case in which Mr. DeLay faces charges of money laundering and conspiracy to violate election laws. The charges prompted Mr. DeLay to step aside as House majority leader, and Mr. Blunt assumed his leadership responsibilities.

The lawyer, Lawrence Noble, said an investigation should be launched to determine whether donors were deceived or whether the true destination of their money was concealed.

"It seems to be a pattern with DeLay funneling money to different groups, at least to obscure, if not cover, the original source," Mr. Noble said.


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