Sunday, February 20, 2005

Preview of documents from civil trial

Former state reps have filed a civil suit against DeLay's TRMPAC officials. The trial date on that civil suit is scheduled for February 28. In advance of the trial date, some documents have been leaked to the Austin American-Statesman (registration required). Here's a passage that caught my eye:

Hungry for money

The new documents show that Texans for a Republican Majority had a voracious need for money.

So-called hard dollars, largely from about a dozen wealthy individuals, went to GOP candidates. Corporate money, called soft dollars, paid for the committee's consultants, pollsters, phone banks and professional fundraisers.

The committee, for example, paid a California phone bank with corporate money to identify likely Republican voters in 20 or so legislative districts. Committee officials have defended such expenses as "administrative" costs that are allowed with corporate money under state law.

On Aug. 6, 2002, three months before the election, [John] Colyandro [Executive Director of TRMPAC] wrote [Warren] Robold [TRMPAC's Washington fundraiser]: "It has become critical that we bring dollars now. On the soft money front, we need to up the take to $750,000. There are too many activities that we must fund.

"On the hard dollar front, we need $1 million."

Two weeks later, Colyandro wrote his fund-raisers that the money for candidates was not coming in fast enough: "I am very concerned about meeting our hard dollar targets. We've had three luncheons/meetings with very little return."

Robold, who was DeLay's corporate fund-raiser, focused on raising corporate money from lobbyists on Washington's K Street.

On Sept. 16, 2002, Colyandro implored Robold: "Any news? I need the dollars desperately. Sorry to sound so needy."

Texans for a Republican Majority was spending money as fast as Robold could raise it. In his message to D.C.-based lobbyists, he claimed corporations could give as much as they want, without it being disclosed: "Just a reminder, all corporate funds are unlimited and non reportable by Texas State law."

What is remarkable about this to me is how easy it would be for someone like Colyandro or Robold to relieve the fundraising pressures with one phone call to Tom DeLay.

Thanks to Off the Kuff for the link.


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