Former Tx House Speaker Accused of Laundering Campaign Contributions - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/5/04

Former Tx House Speaker Accused of Laundering Campaign Contributions

Former Texas House Speaker Pete Laney is being accused of laundering nearly $1.7 million in political campaign contributions.

Wednesday, the Republican Party of Texas filed an ethics complaint against the Democrat claiming he used that money for personal benefit. The allegations are centered around Laney's personal airplane from 1995 to 2003.

Laney represents District 85 and according to the GOP, weekly round trips from his Hale Center home to Austin would have cost less than the $235,000 he paid himself in the year 2000 alone.

NewsChannel 11 contacted Laney's office this afternoon and received this response: "My political opponents made this same attack against me publicly in 1996 and 2001 and there was no substance to their claims then or now. My campaign funds have always been handled in total compliance with the laws and rules of our state."

Laney's office also issued an ethics advisory opinion from 1993 that states "an office holder may use political contributions to pay the expenses of operating and maintaining his personal airplane for office holder purposes. Expenses may be prorated between office holder use and personal use."

The State Republican Party says Laney has never produced any evidence to verify that his reimbursements are for legitimate officeholder travel.

NewsChannel 11 will continue to follow this story and will keep you updated on any new developments.

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