- The Washington Times - Friday, May 28, 2004

GREENVILLE, Texas — A Republican state senator is accusing U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, Texas Democrat, of financial irregularities and is demanding that the Austin district attorney investigate his charges.

State Sen. Robert F. Deuell, Greenville Republican, sent a two-page letter to Democratic prosecutor Ronnie Earle on Tuesday and provided copies to several major Republican officials.

His letter charged the Dallas congressman with criminal misuse of campaign funds from Mr. Frost’s “Lone Star Fund” and said it was “imperative” that Mr. Earle, who is investigating Republicans on suspicion of illegal fund raising, investigate his complaint.

Mr. Earle’s office did not return calls about the matter.

Mr. Deuell said the Austin district attorney probably did not receive the letter in the mail until yesterday, but added that “we faxed him the letter two days ago.”

A spokesman for Mr. Frost, Justin Kitsch, called the matter “a frivolous and malicious complaint, designed to prop up Pete Sessions and is clear evidence the party leadership is panicking over their reckless power grab.”

Mr. Sessions, a Republican, is running against Mr. Frost in a rare incumbent-v.- incumbent U.S. House race, brought about by a massive Republican redistricting efforts in the state legislature last year. The new map is expected to cost Democrats about six seats in the U.S. House.

Mr. Kitsch said the Lone Star Fund’s Texas account — which he said accumulated more than $400,000 in contributions from individuals in 2002 — distributed less than that to Texas candidates. It was split into two different funds, he said.

“One was located in Texas,” he explained, “and raised only funds eligible for use in Texas state elections. This fund disclosed its activity to the Texas Ethics Commission and accepted no corporate funds.”

The other part, he said, was maintained in Washington “and made no contributions to Texas state candidates.”

Mr. Deuell sent 12 pages of funding information along with his letter to Mr. Earle.

“You have been quoted as saying that ‘My job is to prosecute felonies. Texas law makes it a felony for corporations and labor unions to contribute to campaigns.’ I believe it is imperative that you investigate this matter,” Mr. Deuell wrote.

Mr. Deuell’s letter said that in one period, July-September 2000, only $60,000 of the fund’s reported contributions came from individuals, while almost $200,000 was donated by “corporations, associations or labor unions, including $10,000 from Enron Corp., and various plaintiffs injury lawyers.”

In that same period, the fund dispensed about $127,000.

“We’ll see if he does his duty,” Mr. Deuell said.

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