Poor Tom DeLay. And When I Say Poor, I Mean Poor!

From Holden:

Cue Nelson Muntz! Tom DeLay’s legal defense fund is in the hole by 1/2 a million dollars!

Embattled U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay raised more money for his legal defense in 2005 than ever before but still owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to lawyers, according to documents released Tuesday.

DeLay, fighting an indictment in Texas on charges of illegal fundraising while facing scrutiny by federal prosecutors in Washington for his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, raised $181,851 between Oct. 1 and the end of the year. That amount brought the total raised for his legal defense fund in 2005 to $590,520 — significantly more than the $439,550 recorded in 2004.

But during 2005, DeLay’s legal expenses topped $1 million, said Brent Perry, a Houston attorney who administers the fund.

“We paid out well over $500,000 in legal fees (in 2005),” he said. The payments would leave DeLay owing lawyers at least $500,000, a figure Perry said was probably low.

DeLay, of Sugar Land, raised $318,000 in the third quarter of 2005, during which he was indicted in Travis County. Perry said the falloff in the final three months should not be interpreted as a lack of enthusiasm among donors.

“I have not experienced any reluctance to give,” Perry said. “We’ve already taken in $100,000 in January, without any fundraising events.”

As reported in required disclosures to the U.S. House, contributions to the fund in the fourth quarter trailed Republican DeLay’s legal expenses for the same period, which came to $239,257.

[snip]

…Public Citizen, a Washington watchdog group that monitors money in politics, saw signs that Republican lawmakers were less supportive of DeLay than in the past.

Only 31 of 239 Republican House members donated to the legal fund through political committees, down from 44 who gave in 2004, Conor Kenny, a researcher for the group, pointed out.

“The fact that less than 15 percent of Republicans in the House contributed shows that many in (DeLay’s) party want a break with the ethically challenged leadership of the party,” Kenny said.

Via ReddHedd.