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"Being called ugly by a frog"

With Republican campaign-spending practices under investigation in Austin, U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay blasted Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle on Tuesday for using his power for "vindictive" ends.

"This is nothing more than a vindictive, typical Ronnie Earle process. The district attorney has a long history of being vindictive and partisan," Mr. DeLay said at a weekly session with reporters, responding to a question about a grand jury investigation being run by Mr. Earle.

"This is so typical. This is criminalizing, or an attempt to criminalize politics. We have a runaway district attorney in Texas," Mr. DeLay said.

Mr. Earle said of the leader's comments: "Being called partisan and vindictive by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog." -- DeLay blasts DA in spending inquiry (Dallas Morning News)

And the plot thickens ...

A statement made by an ally of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is raising questions about some Republican National Committee contributions to seven Texas House candidates whose fund raising is part of a state criminal investigation.

The contributions totaling $190,000 were sent two weeks after Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee contributed $190,000 to an arm of the national Republican group. The money given to the Texas PAC was donated by corporations, which are prohibited by state law from donating directly to candidates.

Officials with the Texas PAC and the Republican National Committee have repeatedly called the identical amounts a coincidence.

But John Colyandro, executive director of the Texas PAC, said in a deposition that he directed an accountant to send a blank check to another DeLay aide, Jim Ellis, the day before Ellis met with the Republican committee, the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday. -- Blank check raises questions in Texas GOP fund raising (AP)