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Tom DeLay's Attorney: The Rules Were Followed

Monday, April 18, 2005; Page A16

The April 6 front-page article "A 3rd DeLay Trip Under Scrutiny" discussed a trip to Moscow that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) took nearly eight years ago, when he was the majority whip. The April 7 news article "As DeLay Faces Ethics Questions, GOP Circles Its Wagons" said that "DeLay was hit by a fresh wave of ethical questions yesterday," apparently in reference to The Post's own story.

Mr. DeLay, along with his wife, Christine, and staff members, traveled to Moscow from Aug. 5 to 11, 1997, on a trip that the National Center for Public Policy Research has said it funded. House ethics rules allow entities such as the center to sponsor fact-finding trips, and Mr. DeLay complied with all disclosure requirements. We are unaware of any requirement that a member obtain permission from the executive branch before such a trip.

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During the Moscow visit, Mr. DeLay met with religious leaders and government officials. He also toured a Russian space center because his congressional district includes NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Another focus of his trip was to investigate religious persecution in Russia. When the Duma passed legislation that encouraged religious dis- crimination and violated several international agreements on human rights just weeks after his trip, Mr. DeLay co-sponsored a House resolution condemning the law and discouraging additional U.S. aid to Russia.

The article insinuated that the majority leader's vote for legislation supporting the International Monetary Fund and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. was in exchange for his travel to Moscow. That is unfounded. Historically, these programs generally have received strong bipartisan support from the Houston area's congressional delegation.

BOBBY R. BURCHFIELD

Washington

The writer is outside counsel to the House majority leader.


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