The NYT reports that documents submitted as evidence during the TRMPAC lawsuit show a more detailed level of involvement by Tom DeLay.
The documents, which were entered into evidence last week in a related civil trial in Austin, the state capital, suggest that Mr. DeLay personally forwarded at least one large corporate check to the committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, and that he was in direct contact with lobbyists for some of the nation's largest companies on the committee's behalf.
In an August 2002 document subpoenaed from the files of the indicted fund-raiser, Warren M. RoBold, Mr. RoBold asked for a list of 10 major donors to the committee, saying that "I would then decide from response who Tom DeLay" and others should call to help the committee in seeking a "large contribution."
Another document is a printout of a July 2002 e-mail message to Mr. RoBold from a political ally of Mr. Delay, requesting a list of corporate lobbyists who would attend a fund-raising event for the committee, adding that "DeLay will want to see a list of attendees" and that the list should be available "on the ground in Austin for T.D. upon his arrival."
A lawyer for Mr. RoBold, Rusty Hardin of Houston, said that the documents offered no evidence to suggest any wrongdoing by Mr. RoBold or Mr. DeLay, and that Mr. RoBold continued to believe that Mr. DeLay had only a limited advisory role on Texans for a Republican Majority.
"Warren was just having no contact with DeLay about this," Mr. Hardin said in an interview. "DeLay wasn't directing him."
In one of his more detailed references to Mr. DeLay in the documents, Mr. RoBold seemed to suggest in an e-mailed message on Aug. 19, 2002, that Mr. DeLay would follow the committee's direction in fund-raising, not direct the fund-raising himself.
"John," he wrote, referring to Mr. Colyandro, the committee's executive director. "Create a top 10 list of givers and let me call them to ask for large contribution. I would then decide from response who Tom DeLay others should call. If this is successful than I will do more of them."
Cris Feldman, a lawyer for the Democratic candidates, said he believed that the newly revealed documents from Mr. RoBold were eye-opening.
"We always knew Tom DeLay was involved," Mr. Feldman said, "but we never realized the extent to which he was involved in fund-raising directly with corporations."
One of the most intriguing documents, he said, was a printout of a September 2002 e-mail exchange between Mr. RoBold and Drew Maloney, a Washington lobbyist who is Mr. DeLay's former legislative director and administrative assistant in the House.
Mr. Maloney, who has lobbied on behalf of Reliant Energy, the Houston-based energy company that was a major contributor to Texans for a Republican Majority, offered Mr. RoBold a list of possible corporate donors to the Texas committee, adding: "I finally have the two checks from Reliant. Will deliver to T.D. next week."
The Texas committee's donation records show that it received a check for $25,000 from Reliant that month. The existence of some of the documents in Mr. RoBold's files was first reported last month by The Austin American-Statesman.
Elsewhere on the DeLay scandal front, it's nice to know that he hasn't abandoned Jim Ellis the way he's brushed off Jack Abramoff.
Several House Republicans are helping to pay the legal bills of a top political adviser to Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Texas) who is under indictment in Texas on money-laundering charges.
Between November and December 2004, Lone Star State Reps. Michael Burgess and Michael Conaway each donated $5,000 from their campaign accounts to the Texas Justice Legal Defense Fund, a private non-charitable trust that was established late last year to aid embattled DeLay operative Jim Ellis.
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) donated $1,000 to the fund in December, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) made a $10,000 contribution to the fund in January through his leadership PAC, the Rely On Your Beliefs Fund. Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) also made a $1,000 donation from his leadership PAC at the end of January. Regula had been a candidate to become the next chairman of the Appropriations Committee but was beaten out in early January.
Blunt, Regula, Feeney and Burgess are among the dozens of House Members who’ve helped financially boost DeLay’s own legal defense fund, which according to Public Citizen has raised more than $990,000 since it was founded in 2000.
On July 14, 2004, Blunt gave two separate $5,000 donations to the Tom DeLay Legal Expense Trust — one from his re-election account and the other from his leadership PAC. Two days earlier, Burgess contributed $5,000 from his campaign account to DeLay’s legal expense fund. Feeney’s campaign gave $5,000 to the DeLay fund in late November, and CARE, Regula’s leadership PAC, kicked in $5,000 in late October of 2004.
According to Public Citizen, former Members of Congress and their PACs have contributed 35 percent of the entire amount that DeLay’s legal expense trust has collected since its inception, and Blunt is one of the most generous donors, giving $20,000 in the past four years.