Westar Names Names

| Fri Jul. 8, 2005 11:30 AM PDT

The Dallas Morning News unearths a bit of damning Tom DeLay news:

A company indicted in a Texas campaign fundraising case says it was told that by giving a Tom DeLay political committee $25,000, company officials would get access to the U.S. House majority leader to influence legislation.

In court documents, Westar Energy of Kansas says that to meet with Mr. DeLay in 2002, company officials "were told they needed to write a check for $25,000" to Texans for a Republican Majority, known as TRMPAC.

It's the first time a company has said it donated to the Texas committee created by Mr. DeLay in exchange for a meeting and legislative help.

Uh-oh. I do believe that's against federal law. Although I'm surprised that DeLay actually needed to spell out this probably-quite-common quid pro quo to what seems like a reasonably well-connected company. Isn't it usually just assumed that large donations will guarantee some form of access? The big news might not be why DeLay was so corrupt but why he was so dumb about it. The unhappy news is that a crackdown on DeLay for his TRMPAC activities isn't likely to end the intimate connection between corporations and politicians. Future Tom DeLays will just have to be a bit more discreet about handing out legislative favors to major donors, no?

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