WASHINGTON — Judicial Watch, a conservative group that gained prominence by repeatedly suing the Clinton administration, is taking legal action against House Republican Leader Tom DeLay of Texas over allegations he tried to raise political donations by promising meetings with Bush administration officials.
"It is improper and illegal to sell official public office for political campaign contributions," said Judicial Watch chairman and general counsel Larry Klayman. "When Clinton did this, Judicial Watch acted. We cannot look the other way when Republicans do the same thing."
Klayman said at a news conference Tuesday that he had filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department, asking them to investigate DeLay and the National Republican Congressional Committee for fund-raising violations. He said he also would ask the House Ethics Committee to look into the matter.
"I'm seriously calling it bribery," he said.
"We think this whole thing is ridiculous," said Emily Miller, DeLay's spokeswoman. "Tom DeLay has done absolutely nothing wrong."
Associated Press reported this month that DeLay, the House's No. 3 Republican, was promising meetings with senior Bush officials to small-business owners who made donations to underwrite a GOP ad campaign promoting President Bush's tax plan.
Both Miller and Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for the NRCC, said DeLay was seeking donations in the $300 to $500 range for people interested in attending a tax relief summit in Washington next month where administration officials and others will speak.