WASHINGTON – House Republican leader Tom DeLay (search) said Tuesday the indictment of close political associates in a Texas campaign finance investigation is regrettable, but he denied he's a target of prosecutors.
DeLay, the second-ranking House member, also dismissed as frivolous a complaint filed with the House ethics committee that alleges he abused his office for political purposes. The investigations are attempts to affect this fall's elections, he said.
"This investigation isn't about me," DeLay told reporters, referring to the indictment. "I haven't been asked to testify. I haven't been asked to provide any records. I haven't been asked to come as a witness, and that's about all I know.
"This is 40 days, 41 days before the election. You do the political math."
A Texas grand jury returned indictments Tuesday against three DeLay associates and eight corporations in an investigation of alleged illegal corporate contributions to Texans for a Republican Majority (search), a political action committee associated with DeLay.
The grand jury in Austin, Texas, indicted Jim Ellis, who runs DeLay's separate Washington-based political committee, Americans For a Republican Majority, on a money-laundering charge. DeLay described Ellis as a close associate who runs ARMPAC.
The grand jury also indicted Warren RoBold, a Washington fund-raiser DeLay said he's known for 20 years; and Texan John Colyandro, executive director of the Texas political action committee. DeLay said he has known Colyandro about five years.
Colyandro also was charged with money laundering, and he and RoBold were charged with unlawful acceptance of corporate political contributions.
"What's happening to them is regretful," DeLay said.
"I don't know of any wrongdoing. I raised money for them, made appearances for them. I didn't have anything to do with the day-to-day operations of TRMPAC."
DeLay is a member of the committee's advisory board.
Meanwhile, leaders of the House ethics committee said they soon plan to present to committee members information they've obtained on a three-part complaint filed by Rep. Chris Bell (search), D-Texas.
The 10-member committee, equally divided by party, could send the allegations to an investigative subcommittee, dismiss some allegations while ordering a probe of others or throw out the complaint.
"I think people see this for what it is, at least that's what I've seen," DeLay said. "I went door-to-door Saturday, and people see this for what it is."