Those who contributed to Tom DeLay's campaign may be onboard for his legal defense, too. As the Washington Post points out, under federal election law, DeLay is allowed to spend the money in his reelection coffers on attorneys' fees. "Election lawyers say one advantage of bowing out of the election now is that the campaign cash can be converted to pay legal bills immediately, instead of being drained in the course of a bid to stay in office," the paper says. (Why, one wonders, would such a law exist? Lawmakers and regulators sure do think about all the contingencies when drawing up finance rules.)
This is good news for DeLay, because although he has amassed a large legal fund, contributions had lately been declining. The fund collected $318,000 in the third quarter of last year, the Post says, but in the fourth quarter it collected only $181,500. As of the end of 2005, the defense fund contained $600,000. Meanwhile, DeLay's campaign account has $1,295,350, according to the most recent filing with the Federal Elections Commission.
The paper notes that the "last lawmaker to gain the FEC's formal approval for such a transfer was Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham (R-Calif.), who resigned last November after pleading guilty to evading taxes and accepting bribes."