Facing charges of political money laundering, former House Speaker Tom DeLay (R-TX) is now spending re-election campaign funds on legal bills, Roll Call reports.
Excerpts from the Roll Call story follow:
Having already spent more than $2 million on attorney fees in the past 20 months, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) is now dipping into his campaign war chest to pare down some of his mounting legal bills.
Earlier this month, DeLay — who’s facing a heated GOP primary next month and a tough general election campaign after that — sent $210,000 from his campaign treasury to the Washington, D.C., law firm that has been handling legal questions surrounding his association with ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
In addition, that legal payment pushed DeLay’s cash balance in his campaign committee below $2.3 million, giving his likely general election opponent, former Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas), his first-ever lead in cash on hand in his race against the former Majority Leader. Lampson closed out Feb. 15 — the day when both Texans had to file an FEC report in advance of the March 7 primary — with a little more than $2.4 million on hand.
Both the House and Senate ethics committees have frequently allowed Members facing legal woes to tap their campaign treasuries to pay attorney fees related to investigations. Many Members, however, set up legal defense funds as a way to wall off their re-election cash, preserving that money for campaign purposes only.
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