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Legal Bills Eat Into Tom DeLay's Campaign Cash

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday July 18, 2006

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The costs of legal defense relating to investigations and indictments are draining Tom DeLay of money he raised for his cancelled re-election campaign, RAW STORY has learned.

A report in today's Roll Call indicated that the former Texas Congressman and House Republican Majority Leader has spent $2.7 million on legal fees, leaving him with only $641,000 in his campaign reserves. DeLay's legal team is currently drawn from nine different law firms.

A recent ruling by a federal judge has required DeLay's name to stay on the ballot in his now former Congressional district. If he chooses to go forward with an attempt at re-election, he will face Democrat Nick Lampson who currently holds $2.2 million in campaign funds. DeLay would then also be faced with the dilemma of simultaneously financing both his legal defense and his political campaign.

An excerpt of the subscribers-only story is included below.

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Ex-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has now paid out more than $2.7 million in legal bills resulting from a pair of investigations over the past two years, including close to a half-million dollars in the second quarter of 2006 as he was retiring from the House.

DeLay used what he at the time considered to be leftover campaign funds to pay off some of his legal bills, which was his biggest expenditure during the quarter, and helped slash his cash-on-hand balance by more than half and leaving him with just $641,000 in the campaign account.

With legal bills still mounting — DeLay faces a local trial later this year on campaign finance charges and the probe of ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff continues — he was originally expected to use all his leftover funds to pay a legal team that now includes lawyers from nine different firms.

However, a federal judge ruled earlier this month that DeLay’s name must stay on the ballot. The case is being heard in two weeks by an appellate court, leaving the very real possibility of a DeLay re-election campaign effort — albeit one that would restart at a sizable cash disadvantage.