An investigation found no violation of Texas campaign finance law by Rep. Martin Frost (D), who was accused by a state lawmaker of illegally funneling corporate money to state legislative candidates.
Republican state Sen. Robert F. Deuell, who brought the criminal complaint against Frost, alleged that only $60,000 of the $256,800 Frost's Lone Star Fund raised from July to September 2000 came from individuals who could legally donate to legislative candidates. Most of the money came from corporations and labor unions, he said.
In a letter made public Friday, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle said Deuell's suspicions about possible violations "were certainly reasonable" because two political committees -- the "Lone Star Fund" and the "Lone Star Fund-Texas" -- had operated with the same federal employer identification number.
The two funds, however, maintained separate bank accounts, Earle said. The Lone Star Fund-Texas was subject to Texas campaign finance law, but the Lone Star Fund was not, the prosecutor said.
Frost said he was not surprised by the investigation's outcome.
"We are pleased this matter was concluded quickly and accurately," Frost said in a statement.
A message left at Deuell's office was not immediately returned late Friday.
Frost, Texas's senior congressman, lost his district under Republican redistricting last year. He is running against Republican Rep. Pete Sessions in a Republican-leaning Dallas area district.
Sessions's spokesman, Chris Homan, said he assumed Earle investigated the complaint thoroughly and that the conclusion should stand.
But Homan said the investigation was merited, considering Frost's extensive history at the helm of Democratic fundraising efforts.
"A lot of money transferred hands and probably deserves looking at," Homan said.
Earle has been conducting a grand jury investigation into the possible illegal use of corporate money in the 2002 elections to help Republicans win legislative seats. The elections gave the GOP control of the Texas House for the first time since Reconstruction.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), who is at the center of that investigation, has said that he has done nothing illegal or unethical. Republicans have called the investigation a witch hunt being carried out by Earle, a Democrat.