Travis County DA Ronnie Earle has dismissed a complaint against Rep. Martin Frost that he made illegal use of corporate campaign donations.
U.S. Rep. Martin Frost has been cleared of an allegation that he illegally funneled more than $100,000 in corporate donations to Texas legislative candidates in 2000, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle announced Friday.
Earle cleared Frost, D-Dallas, after investigating a complaint filed by state Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville.
Deuell had raised questions about campaign finance activity carried out by a Frost political committee called the Lone Star Fund.
Frost, who is locked in a re-election battle against U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, said he was pleased but not surprised by the outcome.
In a letter to Deuell, Earle, a Democrat, said that during the 2000 and 2002 election cycles Frost operated two Lone Star Funds, which shared the same federal employer identification number but maintained separate bank accounts and kept their financial activities separate.
He said he found no evidence after examining bank records and campaign finance reports that the Lone Star Fund-Texas, the only one of the two committees subject to Texas law, had ever been used to deposit or illegally spend corporate or labor union funds on political races.
"We have concluded that Lone Star Fund-Texas did not accept and commingle corporate funds and that it did not contribute corporate or labor organization funds to candidates in Texas campaigns," he added.
Earle, however, told Deuell that his "suspicions that Texas law had been violated were certainly reasonable, particularly given the unfortunate similarity of identifiers, including not only names but also federal employer identification number."
Deuell had based his complaint, filed in May, on Internal Revenue Service filings for the Lone Star Fund.
"While I'm pleased with this announcement, I'm not surprised. Upon being notified that the Lone Star Fund's finances were being examined, I immediately directed Lone Star Fund representatives to cooperate fully with District Attorney Earle. We are pleased this matter was concluded quickly and accurately. I look forward to a vigorous campaign that is focused on accomplishments, not attacks and I look forward to contrasting my record with my opponent's."