Tobacco Companies Sponsored Luxury Trips for DeLay
Public records show that former House majority leader Tom DeLay used contributions and services from tobacco companies and other special interests for a notable number of extravagant trips and luxury outings, according to an Associated Press review publis
During the last six years, R.J. Reynolds loaned DeLay company jets nine times, and Philip Morris provided jets for a 2002 fundraiser for DeLay's political action committee (PAC).
DeLay has raised at least $35 million for his PAC, campaign committees, legal defense fund and his children's charity since becoming House majority whip in 1995. Delay used over $1 million in funds donated to these organizations to pay for exotic travel, lodging, golfing and dining. Delay's attorney said the trips were for fundraising and spreading the Republican message.
While other members of Congress use campaign funds to cover travel expenses and accept gifts from lobbyists and other special interest groups, the AP's review of records suggests that DeLay does so far more than his fellow politicians.
DeLay's attorney, Don McGahn, said that the spending is all legal and for political purposes.
"Mr. DeLay has done extensive fundraising, and traveled far and wide to do so, but you would be hard-pressed to find someone who has raised more for others, whether for candidates or political parties," said McGahn. "Raising political money costs money."