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Paper: DeLay's legal bills top $400,000 in 2006...

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday May 2, 2006

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Roll Call is reporting today that Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) legal bills relating to his indictment on violation of campaign finance laws have topped $400,000 in 2006, RAW STORY has found.

The full, registration restricted, article is here.

In a related story (registration restricted, available here) Roll Call reports that DeLay's defense fund has received a gift of $25,000 from Laser Shot and two officials from the company. The company was tied to the arrest and conviction of ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA) and defense contractor Mitchell Wade.

Excerpts follow.

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Rep. Tom DeLay’s (R-Texas) legal defense fund burned through $312,000 in expenses in the first quarter of the year, paying out fees to four different law firms representing the former House Majority Leader on two different legal fronts.

When combined with the $210,000 DeLay paid out of his campaign committee to a firm in January, the new filings show he spent more than $400,000 in the first three months of the year on legal fees and expenses connected to raising money for the defense fund.

DeLay, who is facing a trial on campaign finance charges in Texas and under scrutiny by a Justice Department task force probing the affairs of ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has now shelled out $2.3 million in legal fees in less than two years, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission and the House ethics committee.

Aides to DeLay said no final decision had been made with regard to how the lawmaker will finance his mounting legal bills once he retires from the House, which is expected to happen sometime in June. But the simplest course would be to continue to raise money through a privatized version of the Tom DeLay Legal Expense Trust and raise unlimited donations without having to publicly report who the donors are.

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Excerpts from the Laser Shot article:

So what is it about Republicans and lasers?

Connoisseurs of the bribery scandal involving former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) will recall that the now-imprisoned appropriator owned two Laser Shot Inc. shooting simulators, worth $9,200, courtesy of defense contractor Mitchell Wade, who pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to bribe public officials, notably Cunningham.

Now it has become public, in legal defense fund filings released Monday, that two officials from Laser Shot and the Stafford, Texas-based company itself donated $25,000 to the defense fund for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) during the first quarter of 2006. That made the company and its two officials one of the biggest contributors to the trust, which was set up to help DeLay cover the costs of lawyers representing him in a Texas criminal case and an ongoing Justice Department probe.

Paige Manard, CEO of Laser Shot, and Alan Winslette, COO of the firm, as well as Laser Shot, each cut $5,000 checks to the DeLay legal-defense fund. Manard and Winslette did not return a call seeking comment on Monday.

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