The capital's most prominent Republican lobbyists are going out of their way next Thursday to show their support -- financial and personal -- for former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).
More than five dozen lobbyists are named as members of the host committee for a fundraising reception in the District to benefit DeLay's reelection campaign. The event, to be on the ninth floor of 101 Constitution Ave. NW, Capitol Hill's hottest new lobbying venue, is expected to be the largest fundraiser for a single member of Congress this year.
Host committee members said that the event is as much about symbolism as dollars. "This is more than just a fundraiser," said Wayne Berman of the Federalist Group, a lobbying firm. "It's a way of saying that an important part of the Republican establishment supports Tom DeLay now and will continue to support him in the future."
"It's intended to demonstrate moral support as well as generate dollars for what's expected to be an expensive campaign," agreed Richard D. Shelby, senior vice president of the American Gas Association.
Host committee members are expected to give the maximum $2,100 personal contribution or to raise $5,000 for DeLay's reelection. The fundraiser was organized by some of DeLay's staffers-turned-lobbyists after his indictment in September and the loss of his leadership post. A Texas grand jury indicted him on a conspiracy charge stemming from a long-running campaign finance investigation, and he later was indicted on related money-laundering charges. DeLay has denied the allegations.
Listed as host committee members are the top executives of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Edison Electric Institute and the American Petroleum Institute. Presidents of several major lobbying firms are also included.
-- Jeffrey H. Birnbaum