Apr 13, 2004

Money Laundering

The Dallas Morning News comes through again, making the connection between the recent NRCC fine and the apparent money-laundering in DeLay’s Texas TRMPAC scandal:

The Federal Election Commission has levied a hefty fine for a scheme that illegally used corporate money for 1999 political ads and resembles another transaction a Travis County grand jury is investigating.

Both situations involve Jim Ellis, a top aide to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and political committees in which Mr. DeLay played key roles.

Mr. Ellis pointed out Monday that the FEC declined to take any action against him or his organization, and he said that he has done nothing wrong.

Election campaign watchdog groups said there seems to be a pattern of attempting to skirt state and federal laws prohibiting the use of corporate donations in political races.

“Basically, this shows that Mr. Ellis was involved, according to the FEC, in a previous money-laundering scheme,” said Fred Ellis, executive director of Campaigns for People.

In the most recent complaint, the Travis County grand jury is looking at a 2002 transaction by Texans for a Republican Majority – whose directors included Mr. DeLay and Mr. Ellis.

According to internal memos, Mr. Ellis took a check from the group’s corporate donations account and gave $190,000 to the Republican National Committee, which, within the next several weeks, doled out the identical amount to seven Texas House candidates. Checks to the candidates ranged from $20,000 to $40,000.

It is illegal in Texas to use corporate money to fuel political races.

So this does not bode well for Mr. DeLay.  The NRCC has just been nailed for $250,000 in what looks like a trial run by Jim Ellis at this money-laundering scam.  The TRMPAC incident was also considerably more ambitious, and the laws in Texas are no joke.  Tick-tock, tick-tock…


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