Friday, July 21, 2006

Tom DeLay fundraising group to shut down, pay fine

DeLay fundraising group to shut down, pay fine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's fundraising committee will shut down and pay a fine for improperly reporting financial activity, according to the U.S. agency that oversees money in politics.

DeLay's group, Americans for a Republican Majority, has agreed to pay a penalty of $115,000, the U.S. Federal Election Commission announced late on Wednesday.

DeLay became one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress by aggressively raising money for the group, known as ARMPAC, and spending it on his fellow party members' election campaigns.

DeLay resigned from Congress in June after being indicted on separate campaign-finance charges in his native Texas.

ARMPAC did not accurately report how it raised and spent nearly $250,000 in 2001 and 2002 and did not accurately report its debts during that period, the FEC said.

Committee officials told the FEC that they have since fixed their reports. The money in question amounted to less than 2 percent of the amount raised and spent during that time period, officials said.

Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, the nonpartisan watchdog group that prompted the FEC to launch the investigation, said the settlement showed a pattern of abusing campaign-finance laws and called for a more in-depth investigation.