In violation of House rules, the legal defense fund for the House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas, accepted donations in 2001 from registered lobbyists, the trustee of the fund said on Monday.
The trustee, Brent C. Perry, a lawyer in Houston, said the money had been inadvertently accepted and was returned on Monday. The donations were uncovered by Public Citizen, a watchdog group, and were reported in the Dec. 13 issue of Newsweek.
House rules specifically ban contributions from registered lobbyists to representatives’ legal defense funds.
Mr. Perry said in a telephone interview that he had returned a $1,000 donation from former Representative Vin Weber of Minnesota, who is now a lobbyist whose clients include Microsoft and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and a $4,500 contribution from a Texas law firm, Locke Liddell & Sapp, and two of its lawyers.
Mr. Perry said two donations from lobbyists’ wives would not be returned because they did not violate the rules.