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CREW files FOIA request with FEC over Westar report

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington announces: Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asking the FEC to produce a report detailing the illegal campaign contributions made by former Westar employees to Members of Congress in exchange for an amendment to the energy bill beneficial to Westar.

In 2003, Westar's board of directors retained campaign finance law expert Tim Jenkins of the law firm O'Connor & Hannan to investigate the campaign finance issues raised in an earlier report. Jenkins' probe focused on a 2002 plan to influence pending federal legislation by making political donations, including a $25,000 donation made to one of Majority Leader Tom DeLay's PACS, Texans for a Republican Majority -- an organization also the subject of a criminal inquiry in Texas. Westar voluntarily forwarded Jenkins' report to the FEC earlier this year.

Upon learning of its existence, CREW FOIA'd the Westar report so that the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct could take the report's findings into account when considering an ethics complaint filed by Cong. Chris Bell (D-Texas) against Tom DeLay last month. The Westar contribution is a major focus of Bell's complaint. CREW has asked the FEC to provide the report on an expedited basis so that the Ethics Committee has time to review the report before it decides whether or not to conduct a full- fledged investigation, a decision which may be made as early as Aug. 6, 2004. -- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington FOIAs Report on Westar Campaign Contributions from FEC (U.S. Newswire)