DeLay's dirty deeds back in the spotlight

The Federal Election Commission has fined a company linked to the House's Republican leader.

By J.J. Helland
August 19, 2005 9:54PM (UTC)
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We're sure House Majority Leader Tom DeLay would like us all to forget about the numerous ethics scandals that have been swirling around him, but yesterday was something of a jolting reminder.

The Washington Post reports that the Federal Election Commission fined Westar Energy Inc. $40,500 on Thursday for violating campaign laws in which the firm funneled illegal corporate contributions to Republicans.


Although the FEC's actions "do not apply" to DeLay, according to the Post, his connection to the case had previously prompted the House ethics committee to admonish the House leader for "creating the 'improper appearance' that Westar might receive special access or treatment when he attended the company's golf fundraiser in June 2002."

And Westar had good reason to send DeLay golfing. The Post reports that back then "energy legislation critically important to the company was about to go to a House-Senate conference committee. Language was inserted protecting Westar from financial damage that might be caused by other provisions of the bill."

Although the favorable language inserted in the legislation was eventually taken out of the bill -- when it was discovered that the firm was under a grand jury investigation -- the link between Westar and DeLay only reinforces the notion that the House leader is ethically challenged.

J.J. Helland

J.J. Helland is Salon's editorial fellow in New York.

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