WASHINGTON – The ethics troubles of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search) have not hurt his ability to raise money for his re-election.
In the first three months of this year, DeLay's personal campaign committee took in $438,235, including $100,000 he borrowed personally for his campaign, according to the latest records from the Federal Election Commission (search).
The loan was from Southern National Bank (search) in Sugar Land, Texas, according to his quarterly campaign finance report filed late Friday. DeLay still owed $88,330 on the loan at the end of March.
The Texas Republican also paid off some large bills, including $67,237 to American Express, $48,931 paid to Richardson Consulting Group of Washington, D.C., and $16,986 to Conquest Communications Group in Virginia. The latter two are political and media consulting firms.
By comparison, DeLay raised just $181,236 in the first quarter of 2001 and $94,407 in the first quarter of 2003 for his last two re-election campaigns, said Kent Cooper, operator of PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks campaign finances.
"Congressman DeLay continues to enjoy broad and deep support," Dan Allen, DeLay's spokesman, said Saturday.
DeLay is under scrutiny for his overseas trips, political fund raising and his association with a lobbyist who is under federal investigation.
A district attorney in Texas is investigating a political fund raising committee DeLay helped launch to assist Republican candidates in the state's 2002 legislative elections.
Three DeLay associates and eight corporations have been indicted in the investigation, although three companies have reached agreements with the prosecutor.
DeLay has not been charged with any wrongdoing in any of the cases and has denied any legal or ethics violations.
More than half of DeLay's contributions, $221,000 were from corporate political action committees or trade associations.
The National Association of Convenience Stores political committee gave $10,000 and Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries donated $7,500.
Donors of $5,000 included political committees of energy companies TXU Corp., ChevronTexaco Corp. and Velero Energy Corp., and pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. and California-based ChevronTexaco.
"He's continued to fund raise at regular levels. It does not appear it hurt him in any way and a lot of the big players showed strong support with contributions in February and March," Cooper said.
Among the individual contributors were Tony Rudy, a former DeLay aide, and his Rudy's wife, Lisa, who each gave $2,000. Rudy made the contribution while working for Greenberg Traurig, the former law firm of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. A grand jury and two Senate committees are investigating work Abramoff did for several Indian tribes.
Bob Perry (search), a longtime backer of conservative causes, and his wife, Doylene, contributed $8,000 to DeLay.
Perry was a financial backer of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that campaigned against Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., during the 2004 presidential election. Perry also was a contributor to Texans for a Republican Majority and the Texas Association of Business, two groups at the center of the Texas investigation.