GOP experts counter Democrats' arguments

March 4, 2005 at 10:46 AM

AUSTIN, Texas, March 4 (UPI) -- Two campaign finance experts have countered allegations that Texans for a Republican Majority violated state election laws and laundered corporate money.

Jim Bopp, an Indiana attorney, and Charles Spies, an attorney for the Republican National Committee, testified Thursday in the civil trial of Bill Ceverha, the committee's treasurer, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Five Democratic legislative candidates who lost in 2002 are suing Ceverha, accusing him of illegally spending nearly $600,000 in corporate money and failing to report it.

The group spent the funds on consultants, phone banks and pollsters and sent $190,000 in corporate donations to the RNC, which, in turn, sent the same amount of non-corporate money to seven Texas GOP candidates, the newspaper said.

Bopp and Spies took the witness stand to rebut former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter, who testified for the Democrats earlier in the week. He said Ceverha violated the law and there might have been money laundering.

Bopp and Spies said the funds sent to the RNC and the money coming back to Texas were legal donations from lawful sources.

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