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DeLay's PAC under investigation

A political action committee created by Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, enjoyed tremendous success here in 2002: all but 3 of 21 Republican candidates the committee backed for state representative won their races, helping the party take control of the Texas House.

Last year, the Republicans used that clout to carve Texas into new Congressional districts under a plan that political analysts say will bring them at least five new seats in Congressional elections this year.

But local prosecutors and a grand jury here have been investigating the committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, including its use of corporate donations in the election, lawyers close to the case said.

Investigators are also examining whether there were violations of a law intended to curb the ability of outside groups to influence the race for House speaker, the lawyers said. The investigation follows a complaint filed with prosecutors last year by Texans for Public Justice, a campaign watchdog group.

The extent to which Texans for a Republican Majority used corporate money in the 2002 races is laid out in a trail of recently obtained documents. Under Texas law, political action committees are generally prohibited from using corporate and union donations for anything other than administrative expenses. -- New York Times

The political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority, which was created by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and is under investigation by a grand jury, often coordinated its efforts with Republican Tom Craddick before the 2002 election, The New York Times reported Monday.

Craddick, a state representative who was vying for Texas House speaker in late 2002 and was elected to the post by legislators in January 2003, worked closely with officials from the committee to raise money, the newspaper reported.

In turn, the committee sent Craddick campaign checks that he then distributed to individual state House candidates. The newspaper cited documents and interviews in its report.

On Oct. 18, 2002, John Colyandro, who was the committee's executive director, wrote an e-mail message instructing the committee's accountant to send Craddick, via Federal Express, $152,000 in checks made out to 14 Republican House candidates, records show. -- AP