DeLay May Have To Resign as Majority Leader

Smirking Chimp > Roll Call

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has begun quiet discussions with a handful of colleagues about the possibility that he will have to step down from his leadership post temporarily if he is indicted by a Texas grand jury investigating alleged campaign finance abuses.
The problem is with DeLay's PAC, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRM). Last year, a group called Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint that the PAC had not reported hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Texas Ethics Committee (TEC). They furthermore allege that TRM raised at least $602,000 from corporations and used that money for some or all of its non-reported political expenditures, which is against Texas law. Here's a listing of the itemized corporate contributions, contributors to TRM of at least $10,000, and expenses not reported to the TEC.

Fred Lewis explains what Tom's PAC did wrong:
Texans for a Republican Majority raised funds in large chunks from corporations that had important legislation in Austin and Washington – companies such as El Paso Energy ($50,000), Reliant Energy ($25,000), Philip Morris ($25,000) and AT&T ($20,000). The group contends that its corporate fund raising simply exploited a loophole allowing political action committees to use corporate money for administrative expenses.

It is true that Texas allows political action committees to use corporate money for administrative expenses that, in the words of the Texas Ethics Commission, "would be incurred in the normal course of business by any active organization, whether or not it engaged in political activity."

But according to Internal Revenue Service records, Texans for a Republican Majority spent corporate funds on phone banks, political consulting, political fund raising and polling. Most of us wouldn't think of those as normal overhead expenses incurred by any business.

The group also may have laundered corporate funds. It sent $190,000 in corporate money to the Republican National State Elections Committee on Sept. 20. Several weeks later, the committee sent seven checks totaling $190,000 to seven legislative candidates supported by Texans for a Republican Majority.

The group's possible motivation would be that it couldn't contribute the money directly to candidates, so it tried to make an indirect transfer through the committee. But an indirect transfer, if that is what happened, is a contribution under Texas law.
It's not looking so good for Tommie Boy. Boy, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy, you know?