Texas fatcats rally around DeLay

Rep. Tom DeLay raised more money to pay legal fees after abandoning any effort to return as majority leader than he did in the immediate months following his indictment in Texas last year on money laundering charges.

DeLay, R-Texas, received lots of help in boosting his legal defense fund from Texas financiers of Republican causes, corporations and fellow members of Congress. But he spent as much as he raised during the first three months of 2006.

DeLay, a 22-year veteran, announced earlier this month that he is resigning by mid-June.

He raised $314,435 between January and March while awaiting trial on the Texas charges and spent $312,465, most of it on legal fees. In the previous three months, he raised $182,000 and spent $239,000.

One contributor was Houston home builder Bob Perry, the chief financial backer of Swift Boat Veterans of Truth, which campaigned against Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race. Perry and his wife Doylene contributed a total $10,000 to DeLay’s legal fund.

James Leininger and his wife Cecilia pitched in an equal amount. Leininger is a San Antonio doctor who advocates private school vouchers and backs like-minded politicians. Ex-Houston mayor Bob Lanier contributed $5,000.

DeLay paid $280,000 to lawyers, with $125,000 going to the Dallas office of the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani and $110,000 to Dick DeGuerin, a Houston attorney.

He spent about $18,000 on a Washington fundraiser.

Laser Shot Inc., a Stafford, Texas, producer of firearms simulators, contributed $5,000. Contributing an equal amount were BNSF Railway Co. of Topeka, Kan.; Panda Energy Management Inc. of Dallas; Maxxam Inc. of Houston and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. of North Carolina.

© 2006 The Associated Press