Quelle surprise: Tom DeLay gave PAC money to Texans for True Mobility.
Two political action committees controlled by DeLay gave $30,000 to Texans for True Mobility, which spearheaded a high-dollar effort against Metro's proposal to expand its light rail beyond the Main Street line.
DeLay's donations came as Texans for True Mobility was scrambling to maintain an advertising campaign a day before the Nov. 4 referendum, which passed narrowly.
Campaign finance reports indicate that on Nov. 3, DeLay's congressional campaign committee and his Americans for a Republican Majority each donated $15,000 to Texans for True Mobility.
Metro board Chairman David Wolff said he does not believe DeLay's contributions raise questions about his commitment to get money for Houston rail.
"I think that he has come a long way, and I look forward to working with him," Wolff said. "He wanted there to be a referendum.
"He said he would respect the wishes of the voters. Now, they have spoken and I believe he will honor what they said. I have no reason to believe otherwise."
Harris County Democratic Party Chairman Gerry Birnberg said he is not surprised that DeLay and Americans for a Republican Majority would spend money to defeat the rail referendum. "It looks like Congressman DeLay was fully committed to defeat rail," he said.
But Birnberg said the disclosure of the contributions is further evidence that he and two other plaintiffs should move forward with a lawsuit they filed to force Texans for True Mobility to disclose the names of its donors.
The civil suit alleges that Texans for True Mobility broke the law when it concealed the identity of contributors who underwrote advertisements bashing Metro's transit expansion plan. The lawsuit seeks damages of twice the amount of money the group collected.
The DeLay-related donations showed up in his PACs' required financial disclosure documents, filed earlier this year.
"DeLay has ultimately had to disclose that he contributed to the anti-rail campaign, but that information is learned long after the election," Birnberg said. "Who are the other people who contributed to that effort?"