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Only Two Members of Congress Contributed to Rep. Tom DeLay’s Legal Defense Fund in the Past Three Months

July 21, 2005

Only Two Members of Congress Contributed to Rep. Tom DeLay’s Legal Defense Fund in the Past Three Months

Second Quarter Contributions Fell Behind Legal Expenses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the face of continuing ethics questions, embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s financial support from his congressional colleagues continues to plummet. He received only two contributions to his legal defense fund from fellow members in the past three months, according to figures just released by the U.S. House of Representatives.

For the first time, DeLay’s legal defense contributions did not keep pace with his legal fees. In the past three months, DeLay’s legal defense fund raised only $42,900 – $13,311 less than his legal expenses for the same period, which totaled $56,211.92. DeLay’s legal defense fund has spent a total of $90,216 this year.

Overall, DeLay’s legal defense fund has raised $1,089,871 since its formation in July 2000.

In the second quarter of 2005, the political action committee (PAC) of Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio) contributed $2,000 to the fund and the PAC of Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) contributed $5,000. That total of $7,000 is the lowest amount the fund has received in one quarter from congressional contributors, a Public Citizen analysis shows. In the first three months of 2005, the fund collected more than four times that amount, a total of $30,000, from nine members. Contributions this quarter were substantially below the last quarter of 2004, when current and former members of Congress and their political action committees (PACs) contributed $174,500.

The House majority leader has collected a total of $389,500 from fellow representatives since the fund was created in 2000. The congressional contributors who have given the most to DeLay’s legal defense fund over the four-year life of the fund are: Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), $20,000; former Rep. “Billy” Tauzin (R-La.), $15,000; and Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), $15,000.

“Clearly, the contributions to DeLay’s legal defense fund are dropping at the same rate as his stock on Capitol Hill,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. “Perhaps members are beginning to realize that there is no monetary fix for the damage DeLay has done to the ethical image of Congress.”

Under House rules, donors may contribute a maximum of $5,000 per calendar year to a legal defense fund, and contributions can be made by individuals, PACs, and corporate and union treasuries.

In addition to congressional donors, eight individuals contributed a total of $30,900 to the fund, with one-third of that ($10,000) coming from millionaire Texas homebuilder and large Republican donor Bob Perry, and his wife, Doylene.

Only one corporation made a contribution to the fund in the second quarter of 2005. MCO Properties Inc., of Fountain Hills, Arizona, contributed $5,000. Corporations have contributed $340,650, or 31 percent, of the $1.1 million the fund has taken in since its inception.

Robert Foster, staff director of the House Financial Services Committee, contributed $300, which is the smallest individual contribution received by the fund in the last three months.

To read Public Citizen’s analysis and the most recent quarterly filing by DeLay’s legal defense fund, click here.

For further information about DeLay’s legal defense fund and background on his previous violations of House rules, click here.