PAC memo links DeLay to fund-raiserE-mail suggests the congressman's role was more active than passive
By R.G. RATCLIFFE, Houston Chronicle
October 7, 2004
AUSTIN - A newly obtained memo indicates U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had personal involvement in directing some of the fund-raising activities of a political action committee that is under a grand jury investigation.
Three of DeLay's political associates have been indicted by a Travis County grand jury on charges of illegal fund raising involving Texans for a Republican Majority, TRMPAC. DeLay, who was a TRMPAC founder, has distanced himself from its operations.
A memo obtained by the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday indicates DeLay was more than a passive participant in TRMPAC fund-raising events.
The August 2002 e-mail by one of TRMPAC's paid fund-raisers stated that she was acting on DeLay's behalf in an attempt to set up an event featuring U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La. The Tauzin fund-raiser never happened.
DeLay's aides said nothing in the memo proves he was involved in the political committee's "day-to-day" operations.
"Are you really going to suggest that because Tom DeLay said, 'Hey, call this guy. He might be willing to help,' that he was therefore running the day-to-day operations of TRMPAC?" asked DeLay spokesman Jonathan Grella. "That is ludicrous and totally beneath serious consideration."
TRMPAC fund-raiser Susan Lilly, in an e-mail to the director of Tauzin's political committee, said she had been asked to try to set up a TRMPAC fund-raiser with Tauzin. Lilly said the request had come from Jim Ellis, director of DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority.
"Congressman DeLay and others founded TRMPAC to help elect conservative Republicans members to the Texas state Legislature," Lilly wrote in the e-mail. "This election cycle represents a tremendous opportunity for Republicans to finally seize control and elect a Republican speaker of the Texas House.
"To that end, Congressman DeLay is extremely committed to TRMPAC and suggested that we contact Congressman Tauzin to enlist his support for our organization," Lilly wrote.
Lilly on Wednesday said she remembered the e-mail. She said she wrote the memo on instructions from either Ellis or TRMPAC Executive Director John Colyandro. She said she never talked to DeLay about her activities.
Ellis and Colyandro have been indicted by the grand jury investigating TRMPAC under the direction of Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat.
Both were indicted for money laundering, and Colyandro also was indicted for accepting illegal corporate campaign contributions. Another DeLay associate, Warren RoBold, also was indicted on charges of accepting illegal corporate contributions.