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Archive for Thursday, October 27, 2005

DeLay acknowledges failing to report donations

October 27, 2005

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— Rep. Tom DeLay has notified House officials that he failed to disclose all contributions to his legal defense fund as required by congressional rules.

The fund is currently paying DeLay's legal bills in a campaign finance investigation in Texas, where DeLay has been indicted, and in a federal investigation of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The lobbyist arranged foreign travel for DeLay and had his clients pay some of the cost.

DeLay, R-Texas, has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

DeLay wrote House officials that he started an audit and it found that $20,850 contributed in 2000 and 2001 to the defense fund was not reported anywhere.

An additional $17,300 was included in the defense fund's quarterly report but not in DeLay's 2000 annual financial disclosure report - a separate requirement. Other donations were understated as totaling $2,800 when the figure should have been $4,450.

House rules require quarterly reports of donations and expenditures by a lawmaker's legal defense fund. Donations exceeding $250 also must be disclosed on annual financial disclosure reports.

The Texas Republican, who has stepped down as majority leader because of felony indictments in the Texas probe, disclosed and corrected the past mistakes.

The defense fund will report to the House in a few days that it received $318,000 in the third quarter of this year - the best fundraising quarter since it was started in June 2000, according to the trustee, Houston lawyer Brent Perry.

On Oct. 13, DeLay wrote the clerk of the House, Jeff Trandahl, that the first inkling of inconsistencies in his disclosures came in February.

"I brought this matter - which I discovered on my own - to the attention of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to alert the chairman and ranking member," DeLay said in his letter.

"Upon learning of these accounting irregularities, I immediately requested that the trust undergo a full and complete audit from its June 2000 inception through 2004 to determine if any additional accountancy problems existed with the trust."

DeLay is charged in Texas with money laundering and conspiracy to violate Texas election laws.

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