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DeLay Bills Top $400K in 2006

With his trial in Texas pending, DeLay has also had to contend with increasingly large bills to firms dealing with the Abramoff matter, which has already drawn guilty pleas from the lobbyist and two former aides to DeLay. Out of the roughly $400,000 in legal bills paid out from January through March, McGuire Woods received $150,000 for the work of Richard Cullen, who has been DeLay’s lead lawyer on Abramoff questions.

In addition, another $125,000 went to Bracewell & Giuliani, which has done work on both the Texas case and the Abramoff probe. Dick DeGuerin, the lead attorney battling the money laundering accusations in Texas, received $110,000 in February from the fund.

DeLay is just one of four lawmakers to have defense funds that are actively raising money to pay legal bills to handle courtroom dealings.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who has been in a decade-long civil legal fight with House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), raised $12,000 in the first quarter. Most of that came from two $5,000 donations, one from the Teamsters and another from a wealthy Seattle donor.

McDermott paid out $10,328 in legal fees to the firm Kirkland and Ellis. McDermott’s legal bills are likely to continue to mount because last month the House ethics committee voted to approve the formation of an investigative subcommittee to examine whether the lawmaker should be punished for leaking an illegally recorded mobile-phone conversation between Boehner and other GOP leaders in 1996.

Two other Members have defense funds related to Justice Department investigations — Reps. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and William Jefferson (D-La.) — but their financial reports had not been turned in early enough Monday for the Legislative Resources Center to process them.

Aides to Ney, who is expected to prevail in a GOP primary in his district today, said that he raised about $40,000 for his legal trust but hadn’t yet focused much on raising cash to fight potential charges in the Abramoff investigation.

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