Earle Issues More Subpoenas Seeking DeLay, Abramoff Ties

A Texas prosecutor issued subpoenas Thursday for records of a contribution to a nonprofit organization linked to Rep. Tom DeLay and lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is seeking records about a $500,000 contribution made by the National Republican Congressional Committee to US Family Network, a now-disbanded nonprofit advocacy group for conservative ideas. Those subpoenaed include Ed Buckham, a close adviser and former chief of staff to DeLay who founded US Family Network, and Sally Vastola, NRCC executive director.

The Washington Post recently reported that donations to the nonprofit came from Abramoff, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges in a congressional corruption investigation. He has pledged to assist the Justice Department in its probe.

DeLay, R-Texas, has denied through a spokesman that donations to US Family Network influenced his legislative agenda. DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, was not immediately available but has dismissed previous subpoenas filed by Earle for Abramoff-related records as fishing expeditions.

A spokesman for Earle was not immediately available but the prosecutors' office has usually declined comment on the case.

DeLay is awaiting trial in Texas on charges of laundering campaign money used in 2002 races for the state legislature. He also has come under scrutiny in the Abramoff investigation. He stepped down as House majority leader last year when he was indicted.