DeLay PAC fined, forced to close

The FEC says that the political action committee has admitted campaign finance violations.

Published July 20, 2006 7:29PM (EDT)

If Tom DeLay ends up having to run for reelection in Sugar Land, Texas, it looks like he'll have to do it without the help of his political action committee. As the Associated Press is reporting, DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority PAC has agreed to pay a $115,000 fine and cease operations as the result of an audit conducted by the Federal Election Commission.

According to the FEC, the audit found that ARMPAC failed to report approximately $240,000 worth of "financial activity" and $322,306 in debts owed to 25 vendors in 2001 and 2002, and that it illegally misallocated more than $200,000 in expenses between its federal and nonfederal accounts. The FEC says its agreement with ARMPAC contains an "admission of all violations."

"The reason DeLay became so powerful was all about the money, the amounts of money he could pull in and could distribute to his colleagues," said Melanie Sloan, a spokeswoman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which filed a complaint seeking FEC enforcement against ARMPAC. "Nearly every Republican in Congress received money from ARMPAC, thus consolidating his power base. They loved him because he kept them flush. Now we find out, they brought in huge amounts of money, but they did it illegally."

The agreement between the FEC and ARMPAC closes one enforcement action, but it doesn't resolve all of DeLay's PAC problems. DeLay remains under indictment in Texas alongside ARMPAC former executive director Jim Ellis and the ARMPAC offshoot, Texans for a Republican Majority.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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