An A-list of Washington lobbyists will throw a fundraiser Thursday for Rep. Tom DeLay, a sure sign the Sugar Land Republican still has friends despite an indictment that forced him to step down as House majority leader.
"Most of the groups and people in D.C. realize the contribution that Mr. DeLay has made to the party and the influence that he still has," said Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Seven weeks ago, a grand jury in Austin charged Mr. DeLay with violating state campaign law, triggering a House GOP rule requiring him to leave the leadership. He calls the charges politically motivated and denies wrongdoing. But they have energized Democrats hoping to unseat him next November.
Mr. DeLay holds a wide financial lead over his likely opponent, former Rep. Nick Lampson. The Democrat, ousted a year ago after redistricting that Mr. DeLay helped engineer, has raised $826,000 so far to Mr. DeLay's $2.2 million. Mr. DeLay has also been busy raising money for his legal defense, bringing in $318,000 in the last three months.
Contributions to DeLay have actually increased since his indictment, and it's coming fromsources like drug companies and big tobacco.